We need to know how to support the warfighter, and for that to occur we must return to regular order and the budget process. More than anything, we need a predictable budget.
ARLINGTON, VA (PRWEB) October 15, 2013
Retired Lt. General Larry Farrell, President and CEO of National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), announced today that he had joined Chairman of the Board Sean O’Keefe, Vice Chairman Arnold Punaro, and the leadership of Aerospace Industries Association in a letter to Members of Congress and the Administration asking for an end to the government shutdown, for the debt limit to be increased, and for any deal to include an unwinding of across-the-board sequester cuts.
Farrell, the long-serving head of NDIA and a former top acquisition and budget official in the Pentagon, said, “I have never seen the defense budget, and defense industry, face this degree of uncertainty for so long. It’s not easy to sustain readiness and modernize for the future under a constrained budget, but it’s outright impossible when sequestration is in play and companies cannot plan for certain programs to continue and others to end. We need to know how to support the warfighter, and for that to occur we must return to regular order and the budget process. More than anything, we need a predictable budget.”
Farrell quoted Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh, who himself quoted Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral James “Sandy” Winnefeld in a recent House Armed Services Committee hearing, “We don’t know how much money we’re going to have. We don’t know when we will know how much money we’re going to have. And we don’t know what the rules are going to be when we know.”
“Defense firms cannot efficiently support the troops under these circumstances,” Farrell added.
The letter comes at a key moment in budget negotiations, as the Senate finalizes a deal hammered out over the weekend to end the government shutdown and the House of Representatives considers its alternatives. In addition to pushing for fast action on the immediate crises facing the Congress, the letter calls for the replacement of sequester cuts that reduce discretionary spending, and particularly defense and security spending. Independent analysts consistently identify mandatory spending as the key driver of budget deficits, meaning that reductions to discretionary accounts are unlikely to significantly impact the U.S. fiscal position over the long term.