WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), today joined Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), John Cornyn (R-TX), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), David Vitter (R-LA), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) in calling for a fix for the pending defense sequestration cuts that will take effect in January 2013.
“These devastating additional $500 billion in proposed cuts to our military forces would take effect just three months into the new fiscal year,” said Inhofe. “The Defense Department cannot wait until after this year’s elections to address this issue. We need to fix it now. President Obama has already gutted our military with the defense cuts contained in his budget. Adding sequestration cuts on top of that will have irreparable consequences.”
Inhofe points to potential cuts under sequestration that could include: terminating the F-35; littoral combat ship; all ground combat vehicle and helicopter modernization programs; European missile defense; delay the next-generation ballistic missile submarine; delay the KC-46 program, reduction in the number of aircraft carriers; and eliminate an entire leg of our nuclear triad.
If sequestration moves forward, the United States will have the smallest ground forces since 1940, a fleet of fewer than 230 ships, the smallest level since 1915, and the smallest tactical fighter force in the history of the Air Force.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said, “Unfortunately, while large cuts are being imposed, the threats to national security would not be reduced. As a result, we would have to formulate a new security strategy that accepted substantial risk of not meeting our defense needs. A sequestration budget is not one that I could recommend.”
Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said, “The impact of the sequestration is not only in its magnitude. It's in what it does…we lose control. And as we lose control, we will become out of balance, and we will not have the military this nation needs.”