Tim Kaine: Imperative that we avoid sequestration

tim kaine-newU.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, participated in a hearing on Wednesday with the four Joint Service Chiefs on the impact of sequestration on national security. In his opening comments, Kaine expressed serious concern over the harm sequestration continues to inflict on the U.S. military during a period of intense global challenges.

“Since August of 2011, as you’ve also testified, the world hasn’t gotten simpler,” Kaine said to the four Joint Service Chiefs. “We’ve seen the rise of ISIL, an Ebola threat, increasing Russian bellicosity toward neighboring nations, various cyberattacks, a devastating Syrian civil war, a decline in the situation in Libya and other nations in Africa, a flexing of the muscles by the Chinese, and flexing of the muscles by the Iranians. The challenges have only gotten more intense since the August of 2011. But while the challenges are getting more intense, we are needlessly inflicting pain through budgetary mechanisms on our military.”

Referencing the testimony of Marine Corps General James Mattis, former Commander of U.S. Central Command, during yesterday’s Armed Services hearing on global challenges and U.S. national security strategy, Kaine continued, “There are some powerful foes in the field. General Mattis’ testimony yesterday was that none of them will have as much effect on American national security as sequester, and that’s why it’s imperative that we reverse it. We have to take steps to reverse it.”

Kaine reiterated his support for rebalancing the budget to ensure the federal government is allocating sufficient resources to meet global challenges.  He concluded by asking Marine Corps Commandant General Joseph Dunford about the impact of sequestration on the armed forces’ forward deployment of troops and whether this impairs the military’s ability to respond to crises across the globe.

“Our ability to be forward deployed is based on our capacity to, as I mentioned earlier today, our units are deployed for fourteen months, at home for seven months, and back for seven months. If we get sequestered, it will reduce capacity. It will reduce capacity to the point where we’re closer to a one-to-one deployment rate, meaning that our marines who have been deployed for seven months are back home for seven months and deployed for seven months. So that’s a pretty significant cost,”responded General Dunford. “In the wake of Benghazi, I think there’s an expectation that marines and sailors will be there and respond in hours to a threat against our diplomatic corps, U.S. citizens, or interests abroad. The fewer marines and sailors there are forward deployed, the longer the timeline is for us to be able to respond.”

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