By Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa – The Strategic Choices and Management Review (SCMR) paints a grim picture of what sequestration will do to our military and our readiness,” Hanabusa said, “and reinforces the importance of repealing these damaging across-the-board cuts. Secretary Hagel outlined different scenarios the Pentagon may be forced to proceed with if a solution is not reached, including decreasing force levels to historic lows, compensation and benefit changes for military and civilian personnel, and major cuts to equipment and modern weapons systems.
While we are all well aware that we must look for responsible ways to reduce federal spending, including examining defense expenditures, we also need to ensure that those cuts do not adversely affect our forces’ ability to fulfill their mission in the 21st century. Our nation relies upon having a properly trained and equipped security force, and we all have an obligation to ensure that our veterans receive the services and benefits they’ve earned.
We in Congress have a responsibility to control spending and establish policies that preserve our nation’s priorities. Our spending decisions should be based on a long term strategy, not budgetary shortfalls. In the case of defense funding, proper planning requires working with the Department of Defense and our military leaders to ensure that good decisions support their goals. Continuing the thoughtless cuts of sequestration surrenders our responsibility and invites trouble down the road.
Beyond the immediate question of defense spending, we must also remind ourselves that sequestration is having a wide range of bad effects across our nation. Education, health care, infrastructure modernization, and services to working families are vital investments in our future. They will continue to suffer as long as we continue to avoid the critical decisions that we must make to repeal sequestration and rein in spending in a thoughtful, controlled manner. Let’s have that discussion, and end this threat to our nation’s future.
The Pentagon’s Strategic Choices and Management Review (SCMR) was launched back in March to help defense leaders understand the impacts of further budget reductions and provide options on how to deal with sequestration, if it continues.
U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01) is a member of the House Armed Services Committee