Pentagon acquisition executive Frank Kendall said he’ll delay some programs coming due for production or milestone advancement as a result of the budget sequester. “I am holding back a few things right now because of the uncertainty,” said Kendall in a Nov. 7 speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. “Where I can defer some work—not make a financial commitment—in a couple of cases, we’re doing that. We may not want to cancel it outright, but maybe defer [it] for a few more years ’til we get through the worst” of the sequester, he said. “Once we get through that, we can do some of the things we can’t do right now,” he continued. Kendall did not mention specific projects, but said the coming research and development and procurement drought is one of the issues that keeps him “up at night.” Industry is “part of our force structure. We are dependent on industry to perform, and if we don’t have a healthy industry, we don’t have a healthy force,” he said. If the Defense Department aims to protect readiness in the next few years, “it means the only place left to pay the bills is with the industrial accounts: R&D and procurement,” said Kendall. (For more coverage of Kendall’s speech, see Victory of Hollow and Lost in the Orange Triangle.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.