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National Security Desk / June 16, 2017

Mattis Blames Sequestration for Devastating Military Readiness

The secretary of defense didn’t hold back asserting that Obama’s sequester significantly impacted the military.

This week, Secretary of Defense James Mattis lived up to his reputation as a blunt straight talker in his testimonies before the House and Senate Armed Services Committees. Mattis testified that the U.S. military has suffered for years from budget cuts due to Barack Obama’s sequester in 2011 to the point where the rebuilding of the military’s readiness is an imminent concern and will consume much of the 2018 budget before any military build-up can be initiated. It will not be until 2019 before the military can grow its capacity to meet future threats. Mattis pointedly stated, “We did not get into this situation in one year, and we won’t get out of it in a year either.”

Mattis also wasn’t afraid to pointing out the primary culprit for the military’s current diminished situation. He stated, “In the past, by failing to pass a budget on time or eliminate the threat of sequestration, Congress sidelined itself from its active constitutional oversight role. It has blocked new programs, prevented service growth, stalled industry initiative, and placed troops at greater risk. … Congress as a whole has met the present challenge with lassitude, not leadership.”

Mattis’ indictment of the devastating impact of sequester enacted during Obama’s time in office is telling. He states, “I retired from military service three months after sequestration took effect. Four years later, I returned to the Department and I have been shocked by what I’ve seen with our readiness to fight. For all the heartache caused by the loss of our troops during these wars, no enemy in the field has done more to harm the readiness of our military than sequestration.”

He’s right — Obama’s objective was to decimate the U.S. military because he was bitter about Republicans reining in domestic spending. Congress needs to listen and act to rectify that.

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