Carter: Budget Cuts Threaten US Interests

Carter: Budget Cuts Threaten US Interests

WASHINGTON — US Defense Secretary Ash Carter pleaded with senators Tuesday to roll back planned cuts to the military’s annual budget, saying US interests around the globe are at risk.

The Obama administration last month sent Congress a 2016 budget request that seeks $561 billion in baseline national defense funds, $38 billion over existing federal spending caps. Unless Congress acts, the Pentagon would get just under $500 billion in fiscal 2016 after sequestration’s ax does its work.

That amount of funding, Carter and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee, means the military would be unable to carry out the current national defense strategy.

“This committee and this Congress will determine whether our troops … can continue to defend our nation’s interests around the world with the readiness, capability and excellence our nation has grown accustomed to, and sometimes taken for granted,” Carter said.

“Halting and reversing the decline in defense spending imposed by the [2011] Budget Control Act, the president’s budget would give us the resources we need to execute our nation’s defense strategy,” Carter said, meaning an un-sequestered funding level equal to Obama’s $534 billion request for the military.

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