West 2012 Online Show Daily: Day 1
Quote of the day: “It’s going to be a very grim picture if that occurs—very grim.”—Vice Adm. William E. Gortney, USN, director, the Joint Staff, discussing proposed draconian defense budget cuts.
Anyone who wants to know the future of U.S. national security should follow the money, to paraphrase a legendary political saying. However, this money is in the future: the next defense budget, and the burgeoning national debt. One may offer draconian cuts in the military, the other poses a national security threat of its own.
These points were emphasized by a range of speakers and panelists on the first day of West 2012, co-sponsored by AFCEA International and USNI. Being held January 24-26 in San Diego, California, the conference’s usual nautical theme this year has been supplanted by a broad look at the future of the military.
Virtually every speaker warned that if sequestration cuts are allowed to take place, the effect on the military would be devastating. If it is forced to cut $500 billion in addition to the planned $480 billion over 10 years, the military would suffer significant losses in capability. Its ability to carry out its missions probably would be permanently damaged.