The Pentagon has overstated the effects of the sequester’s spending cuts in previous years, a top Defense official said Tuesday.
“We cried wolf about this a lot in ‘13, as ‘13 was approaching,” said Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, at a defense budget conference discussing the sequester cuts.
“What we did in ‘13 was sort of the death of a 1,000 cuts,” Kendall said, adding that cuts were made across the board, but none were significantly negative.
Service chiefs have said that for the 2013 fiscal year, they largely helped hold off the sequester by doling out previously unused funds. And though the military was far from unscathed, it remained globally superior to other militaries.
The Pentagon is asking Congress for $496 billion for the upcoming fiscal year, $45 billion less than it originally projected and $9 billion above the budget caps under the sequester.
“I think it’s time going forward to have an informed debate about this,” Kendall said. He added: “We’re going to put on the table what it means”¦. If you don’t like all the “¦ things we’re doing “¦ look at all the bad things we’ll be doing if sequestration stays in place.”
And though the department’s fiscal 2015 budget sticks to the spending limits set by last year’s agreement, it includes provisions — including BRAC, changes to the A-10, and compensation issues — that Congress is expected to push back on, if not completely reject.
After the 2015 fiscal year, the five-year budget expected to be released by President Obama on Monday will ask for $115 billion over the sequester-level caps.
But acting Deputy Defense Secretary Christine Fox said Pentagon officials believe the “budget is reasonable and realistic and responsible.”
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
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