House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith released the following statement in response to this morning's briefing by Secretary Hagel on the Pentagon"s Strategic Choices and Management Review (SCMR):
"The single biggest take away from Strategic Choices Management Review is that Congress, by allowing sequestration to exist, is abdicating its constitutional responsibility to responsibly fund the military and to provide for the common defense. Through sequestration, Congress is forcing the Department of Defense to make some extremely difficult decisions that will undermine military readiness and put more unneeded stress on our troops, civilian employees, and military retirees
"Without a doubt, the Department of Defense must become more efficient, but sequestration will continue to force the Department to make unacceptable cuts to force structure, modernization, and benefits for our military personnel and retirees, creating significant readiness shortfalls. The SCMR drives home the point that Republican budget policies of fiscal austerity and intentionally starving the Federal Government of revenue put our national security at risk.
"We are already on a path to significant deficit reductions. I am in favor of simply lifting sequestration and ceasing to impose these dramatic costs on our military. Those who refuse to end sequestration have the responsibility of proposing a balanced package of revenue increases and spending cuts that do not harm our national security. Those who refuse are allowing sequestration, and the significant harm it causes, to persist.
"In particular, the Republicans who continue to insist on tax cuts above all else have a responsibility to answer the question: how much military risk are you willing to take to preserve your tax cut?"