With the House nearing a vote on the budget deal, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel threw his support behind the agreement on Thursday.
While acknowledging that the deal introduced on Tuesday by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., doesn’t completely solve the department’s fiscal problems, he said, “It will help address our military readiness challenge by restoring funding for training and procurement,” especially in the current fiscal year.
Pentagon officials have repeatedly warned about the impact of budget cuts on the military’s size and readiness. And Hagel noted that even with the proposed budget, the department will still have to tackle the challenge of finding the “right balance” on those two, as well as on the military’s capabilities.
Hagel isn’t the first high-ranking Defense official to back the budget agreement. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Associated Press he supports it, adding that he hopes it serves as the “beginning of a conversation” on challenges the department faces.