Dempsey: Changes Aimed at Balancing Readiness, Budget Uncertainty

February 6, 2013

Postponing deployment of an aircraft carrier and a guided missile cruiser to the Middle East is just the first in a series of changes to the military’s global presence as the Defense Department tries to maintain readiness amid budget uncertainty, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey said Wednesday.

Additionally, the Pentagon will include a smaller-than-expected pay raise for servicemembers, a request for base realignment and closure, and Tricare savings in its budget request for fiscal 2014 in an effort to cut costs, Dempsey and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters.

But if Congress does not pass a defense budget for the current fiscal year or avert automatic spending cuts, the budget will have to be “thrown out the window” and the services could face significant downsizing, they said.

Panetta on Wednesday approved the Navy’s request to postpone deployment of the U.S.S. Truman and the U.S.S. Gettysburg, which were scheduled to leave this week for the Middle East.

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