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Ashton Carter Seeks Flexibility, Time to Cope With Defense Cuts

AshtonCarterDeputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has stressed that the Pentagon needs “flexibility and time” to manage its financial resources in line with the government’s targets for the next 10 years, Reuters reported Thursday.

David Alexander writes the senior DoD official’s comments on Thursday came as he briefed the Armed Services Committee on the outcome of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s Strategic Choices and Management Review.

The article says Carter emphasized the need for careful analysis of action plans as the SCMR highlighted the potential risk of compromising national security if the department follows the $500 billion spending cut.

“It takes time to downsize forces, to cut employees, to close bases, to reap savings from reforms,” the defense secretary told the House committee as quoted in the report.

“These strategic adjustments take time,” he added.

Alexander reports defense analysts have acknowledged the Pentagon’s efforts to adjust in compliance to a budget law that currently requires $487 billion in cuts as well as prepare for the additional $500 billion sequestration.

“(DoD) is taking some steps I think in the right direction, but it still has a long way to go,” Jim Thomas, a Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments vice president, was quoted to have said in the write-up.

Reuters notes Mackenzie Eaglen from the American Enterprise Institute suggested that the department consider reducing its civilian staff, which he said had increased in four years.

According to the report, Hagel’s review had focused on the effects of sequestration and budget cuts to the capacity and capabilities of the armed forces as well as security programs and initiatives.

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