The Department of Defense wants to do its part to cut the federal deficit while preserving military capabilities, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Wednesday discussing the Pentagon’s 2014 budget request.
Speaking at a press conference with Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Panetta said the budget would call for a one percent raise for military personnel, along with ask for money for new investments in transition assistance, sexual assault prevention, suicide prevention and family programs to boost support for the all-volunteer force.
The request, though, also includes part of the $487 billion in long-term defense cuts that were proposed in 2011 and is based on the defense strategy unveiled early last year, Panetta said.
“[The budget] really does set a framework for what the force of the 21st century should look like,” Panetta said.
Panetta added that all of this budget talk goes out the window if sequestration hits on March 1. That would cause the furlough of 800,000 civilian employees and mean a 20 percent pay cut. It would also cause cuts into Army training, Air Force and Navy flight hours and shrink ship operations, among many other things, Panetta said.
“These are real consequences and our fear is that it really is going to cause a readiness crisis for the military to respond to the crises that we still have to confront in the world,” Panetta said.