A Self-Defeating Force

? Defense budget cuts under sequestration “constitute a serious strategic misstep” and “are ultimately self-defeating” for the United States, warned the bipartisan National Defense Panel on Thursday. Attempts to fix the nation’s fiscal challenges by slashing defense will lead to “a high-risk” military force in the near future that is unable “to accomplish the National Defense Strategy,” states the panel’s report. Congress tasked the 10-member panel, co-chaired by former Defense Secretary William Perry and retired Army Gen. John Abizaid, to offer an independent assessment of the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review that the Pentagon released in early March. The capabilities and capacities called for in the QDR “clearly exceed” the Pentagon’s budget resources, wrote the panel. “This gap is disturbing if not dangerous in light of the fact that global threats and challenges are rising,” reads the report. Given that, “we believe a more expansive force-sizing construct–one that is different from the two-war construct, but no less strong—is appropriate,” wrote the panel. It wants the Air Force and Navy to be larger and doesn’t want to see Army and Marine Corps endstrength shrink below pre-9/11 levels. (See also Plugging the QDR Holes.) (See also Forbes statement.)