'We have robbed Peter to pay Paul, then Paul got furloughed,' Army Secretary John McHugh said at the annual meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army. (Mike Morones/Staff)
Army Secretary John McHugh took direct shots at the lack of approved budgets in recent years.
The last approved budget was signed three years before the iPad was released, he said. The military has since been funded by stopgap measures such as continuing resolutions designed to keep government functioning, “or dysfunctioning, as it were,” he said.
Continuing resolutions force the military to operate on the previous year’s budgets, which are billions less than the president’s current proposals.
“Last year, we didn’t get our budget until March, halfway through the year,” said Lt. Gen. William Ingram, director of the Army National Guard, “and the next week was midyear review. Give me a break. How do you do midyear review when you’re on the CR for six months?”
The solution was not optimal.
“We have robbed Peter to pay Paul, then Paul got furloughed,” McHugh said, adding this is no way to manage the greatest military in world, and “sure as hell” is no way to run a country.
McHugh said defense leaders knew cuts were coming but thought they would have the chance to do it right.
“We were wrong,” he said.
Sequestration caused a $5.5 billion shortfall in fiscal 2013.
“Sequestration was a tool that was supposed to force compromise in Congress. It was not a tool developed to properly manage the downsizing of the Department of Defense or the Army. And that is the problem,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno. “The tool was not right.”