Budget Woes Top List of Concerns in Afghanistan

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan, July 30, 2011 — Bud­get cuts — not oper­a­tional issues — are the main con­cern of sol­diers and Marines assigned here.
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is hold­ing troop talks through­out the coun­try and is being pep­pered with ques­tions about the U.S. debt cri­sis and the future of mil­i­tary ben­e­fits.

Mullen thanked ser­vice mem­bers in Kan­da­har and here for their sac­ri­fices. At both talks he stressed the effects of change and being ready for unex­pect­ed change. He also stressed the need for lead­er­ship at all lev­els.

Then he threw the floor open for ques­tions. In both places, sol­diers and Marines expressed con­cern about the debt nego­ti­a­tions. “The dis­cus­sion real­ly cen­ters on pro­vid­ing by law an increase in the debt ceil­ing so the Unit­ed States can pay its bills,” the chair­man said. “And the bills real­ly run the full spec­trum. I real­ly don’t know the answer to the ques­tion to how, if we default, how that will work out.”

The U.S. Trea­sury deliv­ers ser­vice mem­bers’ pay checks, and sends them to vet­er­ans and Social Secu­ri­ty recip­i­ents. “That’s some­thing that the gov­ern­ment lead­er­ship will have to fig­ure out,” he said. “I hon­est­ly hope we don’t get there. But I don’t expect it will affect — cer­tain­ly in the short term — oper­a­tions here and oper­a­tions around the world.”

Assum­ing a solu­tion to the debt cri­sis is reached, the chair­man dis­cussed what the defense bud­get will look like. He said there is increas­ing pres­sure over­all on the fed­er­al bud­get to reduce the deficit. This has to be addressed, he said.

“I’ve said for a long time, I believe that the sin­gle biggest threat to nation­al secu­ri­ty is this grow­ing debt,” he said. “The more that grows the more like­li­hood that the defense bud­get will get small­er.”

This is a prob­lem because no one knows what could con­front the Unit­ed States in the future. “We have some sig­nif­i­cant nation­al secu­ri­ty require­ments to meet now, and the best I can tell, they are not going to go away,” Mullen said. “As that bud­get pres­sure builds … we’re going to have to make deci­sions on what we’re going to do and what we’re not going to do.”

Still, the cur­rent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are on the top of the Defense Department’s pri­or­i­ty list. All the defense lead­ers, he said, “are very focused on get­ting you what you need here in the fight. I don’t see any cir­cum­stances where that won’t be at the top of the list.”

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →