The Money Has to Come from Somewhere

The Obama Administration’s proposed Fiscal 2017 defense budget is $17 billion less than previously planned, and the brunt of the cuts will fall on acquisition and training, said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) during a roundtable meeting with reporters Thursday. “It’s really unfortunate that we have to deal with this uncertainty,” he said, but is hopeful that all or some of the funding will be restored. At the same time, McCain said it’s important to “continue our efforts on acquisition reform and other reforms” in order to offset what he considers unnecessary spending. “It’s hard for me to ask for $17 billion more when [an aircraft carrier] costs $2 billion more than it was supposed to,” he said. “That’s why so much of our emphasis is on acquisition reform.” The worst way to do business is to make a budget fit a predetermined total by “salami slicing” various accounts, he said, which is what the Defense Department has been forced to do—and will continue to be forced to do without adequate funds for increasing missions.