Pentagon’s No. 2 Leader Criticizes Lawmakers’ Add-backs to Defense Bill

May 30, 2012

Stressing the need for a strategy-driven approach to trim Defense Department spending, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter on Wednesday cautioned Congress that "every dollar spent on bold, unnecessary programs is a dollar we lose for necessary programs."

Recent steps by the armed services committees to restore certain cuts the Pentagon proposed in the fiscal 2013 budget risk "hollowing out" the readiness of the all-volunteer force and upsetting the balance of the department's long-term strategic portfolio, Carter said. "Others can pick one program they favor, but we have to balance them all," he added.

In a speech at the American Enterprise Institute, Carter, the former Pentagon acquisition chief who was introduced as "the epitome of the defense intellectual," said Congress is unwisely resisting the proposed new requirements that retired TRICARE beneficiaries pay higher premiums. "Health care is 10 percent of our budget, so we have to control spiraling costs, and we need these savings to back investments," he said. 

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