By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2014 – Balance is the key to handling budget reductions for the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said today.
Hagel has to cut $41 billion from the president’s planned fiscal 2015 budget request, scheduled to be released March 4, and Pentagon planners are working with the White House and the Office of Management and Budget on the submission.
“You have to come at all these things … from a holistic point of view,” Hagel told reporters at a Pentagon news conference.
The secretary noted that the major parts of the budget fund readiness, modernization and capabilities. “As you assess your resources and you match your resources to mission,” he added, “those are three priorities that always must be in front of everything else.”
Because it is impossible to cut $41 billion from just one aspect of the budget, Hagel said, “you assess the strategic interest and guidance and the mission to defend your country, what it’s going to take to do that, and then you start working through that.”
“Will there be cuts across the board? Of course there will,” he said. “You can’t do it any other way. Are there going to be adjustments across the board? Of course. But you must preserve readiness and modernization and the capability and the capacity in order to do the job of protecting this country within the framework of the resources you have. We’ll do that.”
Hagel said he is satisfied that the proposed Defense Department budget will protect the United States today and in the future. “I think it’s a very good plan. I think it’s an effective plan,” he said.
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