Victory of Hollow

Sequestration already has created a hollow force, and it will get worse, said Frank Kendall, undersecretary for acquisition, technology, and logistics. “Over the next few years…you’re going to have shortfalls that are going to debilitate” the Department of Defense, Kendall said during a Nov. 7 speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. “There is no way to avoid that,” he said. “We will not have enough training. We will not have enough acquisitions.” Recalling his own days in uniform in the 1970s, Kendall said “I lived through the hollow force,” and it meant “you couldn’t do your job, couldn’t keep your soldiers motivated.” The nation “couldn’t have gone to war in the way we might have been asked to do,” and the same conditions are already in force from the budget sequester, he asserted. Kendall said the Strategic Choices Management Review wound up being a “first cut” at all the things the Pentagon must stop spending money on. However, the situation will degrade because things were deferred from last summer’s sequester to this fiscal year in hopes sequester would be reversed; now that it hasn’t been, “there’s no money” to buy those things back, he said. Though the Fiscal 2014 sequester doesn’t really grab hold until January, “we can’t wait,” and DOD is already “trying to constrain our spending” by “operating at a rate that we hope is consistent with sequestration as much as possible.”