U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Ranking Member of the Readiness Subcommittee, released the following statement regarding the Defense Strategy Review that the Pentagon issued today:
"I continue to work with Pentagon leaders to ensure we retain the military capabilities our national security interests require while keeping faith with our brave service members. Rooting out waste, fraud and abuse at the Defense Department while eliminating duplicative military programs remains a top priority for me. And I agree with Secretary Panetta's assessment that our national debt and deficit represent a serious national security risk and that we must carefully scrutinize Pentagon spending to identify responsible cuts.
"However, defense spending has not been the primary driver of our fiscal crisis and we should not implement draconian defense cuts that would add a national security crisis to our current fiscal crisis. While I support what military leaders have described as a difficult but achievable initial round of Pentagon reductions, the additional $600 billion in cuts under defense sequestration would deprive our troops of the resources they need and compromise national security. Instead of allowing Pentagon sequestration to move forward, our commander in chief should be focused on finding savings throughout the federal budget that will preserve military readiness. The president should listen to the warnings of his Secretary of Defense and our nation's military leaders. In the absence of presidential leadership, I'm working with Senator McCain and others to prevent arbitrary cuts and to ensure that national security interests guide our defense spending decisions."