ICYMI: Inhofe Q&A with Defense Sec. Ash Carter and Gen. Martin Dempsey on FY'16 DOD Budget
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), Wednesday questioned Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey on the global security environment and the readiness of our military at the SASC hearing on the “Department of Defense’s authorization request for Fiscal Year 2016 and the Future Years Defense Program.”
During the hearing, Inhofe highlighted deficient readiness levels of the services, which as stated by Gen. Dempsey are “at the lower ragged edge of manageable risk in our ability to execute the defense strategy.” Sec. Carter agreed with Inhofe that our military is at increased risk due to the overall readiness of our force, occurring during a period of security challenges not experienced in our lifetime. Inhofe drove home the point that we cannot continue to cut the defense budget and put at further risk our nation’s military readiness.
INHOFE:Now you said something that I think is more significant. You said even with the fiscal year '16 budget, the Army, Navy and Marine Corps won't reach their readiness goals until 2020, and the Air Force until 2023. Is that accurate?
CARTER: What's going on there is digging ourselves out of a hole of sequester in the past, particularly the 2013 budget, the year in which the shutdown occurred, and so forth. And the thing about readiness is that it's easy to have it fall off, but that it takes time to build it back.And I think what the chiefs were saying, absolutely accurately, is we lost a lot of readiness through the turmoil of the last few years. Even if we're given the opportunity, as we hope with this budget, to start building back, it's just in the nature, it's in the nature of training, that it takes a while to get that readiness back. So I do agree with them, yes.