U.S. Reps. Jim Cooper (TN-5) and Paul Ryan (WI-1) introduced H.R. 2883, a bipartisan bill to give the Department of Defense (DOD) discretion when applying cuts from sequestration. The Defense Flexibility Act will allow DOD to manage these cuts responsibly and lessen the impact on national security.
Under sequestration, DOD faces over $450 billion in cuts over 10 years. Currently, DOD must apply the cuts evenly to most programs, projects, and activities. As a result, DOD projects a decrease in the overall size of the armed forces; significant cuts to training, readiness, and modernization; and continued furloughs for over 650,000 civilian employees.
"It's one thing for the Pentagon to go on a diet," said Cooper. "It's another for the Pentagon to wear a straitjacket while dieting. This bill removes the straitjacket so that the Pentagon can better defend itself and defend America."
"We should replace these arbitrary cuts with better reforms," Ryan said. "But if the sequester remains the law of the land, then we need to give DOD the flexibility to manage these cuts in a responsible way. Our troops shouldn't pay the price for Washington's failure to budget responsibly."
Yesterday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel released his Defense Strategic Choices and Management Review, which illustrated the impact for the remaining eight years of sequestration.
Cooper is the ranking member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, and Ryan is the chairman of the House Budget Committee.