John Hillen: Sequestration Based on ‘Affordability,’ ‘Indiscriminate’

John Hillen

In a Tuesday speech to the Greater Washington Board of Trade, Sotera Defense Solutions President and CEO John Hillen said he aimed to address the potential of sequestration cuts from a broad, strategic perspective focusing on national security.

Nearly $500 billion is already set to be cut from the Defense Department‘s budget over the next decade without sequestration, amounting to a 10 percent cut each year.

Cuts under sequestration would push the total reduction amount to nearly $1 trillion over the decade.

Even without the sequester, Hillen gave scenarios he believes are strategic and logical ways defense funds could be reduced.

According to Hillen, sequestration is only based on affordability as opposed to using strategic and logic reasons to implement those cuts.

“Approaching the issue from the broader strategic perspective does not confuse the means and ends of policy making,” Hillen said. “Means such as budgets and policies are tools that are meant to serve the broader ends of the goals of American policy.”

The U.S. changing its national security strategy to redefine interests could lead to a budget reduction, he said.

Other reasons to reduce defense funding could include the world becoming “less dangerous” and finding less costly ways to address U.S. security matters, Hillen said, adding none of those things have happened yet.

Regarding preparations for the possibility of sequestration, Hillen said government departments not planning for the cuts has led to a “panicked rush to meet the obligations of the Budget Control Act if a lame duck Congress does not address this after the elections.”

Sequestration would come down indiscriminately without the strategic focus, he said.

“Sequestration, even if positively desired, is an unguided missile that could cut programs regardless of their priority or connection to the strategic priorities, international obligations, or the nature of our security challenges,” Hillen said.

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