“There are only three ways to close the yawning gap between ends and means: scale down the objectives, thus restoring strategic clarity and focus; increase the means, which is highly unlikely, given fiscal realities; or, most dangerously, bluff. Doing nothing and allowing the gap to deepen is the last resort.”
In his February Asymmetric Threat Global Snapshot, Jack London, CACI International‘s executive chairman and chairman of the board of directors, outlines how the U.S. wants to expand the reach of its defense and national security dollars, while facing immediate and structural fiscal challenges.
London writes that the U.S.’ strategic defense shift to the Asia-Pacific region and new technologies and frontiers of international combat require that the U.S. have clear objectives and priorities and transition its funding accordingly.
However, London writes there are distinct obstacles that cast great uncertainty over the U.S.’ ability to allocate the appropriate means to reach these strategic ends and could have U.S. national security already heading “down the rabbit hole.”
The Defense Department is starting to absorb $487 billion in cuts that were implemented in 2011 and will take place over 10 years, while a potential “one-two punch” from sequestration and a continuing resolution could reduce military operating budgets by more than 20 percent.
The Navy estimates its funding for operations and maintenance will be more than $4.6 billion short of necessary spending and announced earlier this month it will not deploy the USS Harry S. Truman to the Persian Gulf, leaving only one aircraft carrier in that region.
Congress’ fiscal cliff resolution in December 2012 resolved no systemic problems, London maintains, and with the House scheduled to be in session for only 11 days in February, London identifies significant issues set to soon compound.
- After 18 months of no agreement between the executive and legislative branches to prevent sequestration, automatic budget cuts are set to sink in March 1.
- The U.S. government has been funded through a continuing resolution since October 2012 that runs through March 27, constraining departments’ ability to shift funds between accounts and start new programs. If not extended, “the U.S. government would have no choice but to shut down.”
- Suspending the debt limit until May 18 was a short-term fix and the national debt is “the most serious threat to U.S. national security,” according to retired Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
For London’s thoughts on what should be done to align means and ends to protect U.S. national security interests, head to http://asymmetricthreat.net