Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following statement in response to the Pentagon's "28 Star Letter" to Congress. The letter was signed by all 7 members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all who have attained the rank of four-star general. It expresses their concern about the impact of the continuing resolution and sequestration will have on military readiness.
"The '28 Star' letter is serious, and it is my hope that it serves as a wake-up call. The condition of our Armed Forces is swiftly declining. And this is the first red flag on what could be a hazardous road for our national security," McKeon said.
"I only wish the service chiefs' warning had come sooner. For well over a year we have seen this perfect storm brewing. This committee rigorously documented the harmful impact of a reduced defense budget as early as September 2011. Time after time, this Committee was told by Pentagon officials that there was no need to plan for sequestration's dire consequences. Time after time, we gave those officials the opportunity to testify about the risks inherent in that strategy. Now, as we approach the midnight hour, DoD is just beginning to offer specifics.
"While it is important that my colleagues in the House understand these dire consequences, I hope a copy of the letter was also sent to the Oval Office. Congress alone does not carry sole responsibility for this crisis, nor can we resolve it on our own. While senior commanders' cries for help are heeded and taken seriously on the Hill, the Commander-in-Chief continues to fail in his primary duty. He has yet to propose a solution to the crisis, and he refuses to step off the podium and sit down at the negotiating table. Sequestration was conceived and created in the White House with the ultimate agreement of Congress. The solution will also take agreement from Congress and the Commander-in-Chief," McKeon said.