For nine days following the Sept. 11 attack, they claimed it was merely spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islamic video that virtually no one had seen. In truth, within 24 hours they had credible evidence that the assault was coordinated and well executed by trained and heavily armed terrorists.
Apparently, the administration was desperately trying to cover up its lack of planning for the 9/11 anniversary and its failure to provide adequate security for Americans based in the Middle East.
Now, in a variation of that theme, the Defense Department has decided to close their eyes to the risks of sequestration, apparently hoping it will go away. The policy is curious indeed and a disservice to defense department employees and to the American people.
If unchecked, sequestration – ordered by the Budget Control Act of 2011 – will kick in Jan. 2 and begin a ten-year process that will pull almost $500 billion from national defense spending . It will pair with an Obama administration initiative that cuts an additional $487 billion over the same period.
Defense officials say they have planned for – and can accommodate – the Obama cuts. But what adjustments are being made for sequestration? After all, it remains a real possibility despite the pontification we’ve heard in recent days.
In short, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s reaction is to do nothing. He has warned civilian leaders and commanders to not plan for the cuts and not discuss possible consequences with civilian workers.
The Washington Times obtained a copy of a Carter memo that outlined the approach: “I am directing that all commanders and managers in the Department of Defense continue the defense mission under current laws and policies, without taking steps that assume sequestration will occur,” Carter wrote earlier this week.
He apparently believes that sequestration preparation would alarm the workforce … and apparently they are incapable of handling a real and possible menace at the same time.
“Commanders should not, for example, curtail planned training, maintenance, health care or family programs,” Carter added, according to the Times account. “Commanders and managers should not alarm our employees and their families by announcing personnel actions related to sequestration or by suggesting that these actions are likely.”
Of course military and civilian leaders are well aware of sequestration’s consequences. So are most of the line employees unless they have been living in outer space over the last six months.
Some officials have suggested that a graphic reaction by the Defense Department would get the attention of Congress and the president in a compelling way … that seeing the leading edge of devastation caused by the act would bring the process to a swift and more positive conclusion.
Carter does not agree. His memo concludes with, “We do not want our programs, personnel and activities to begin to suffer the harmful effects of sequestration while there is still a chance it can be avoided.”
In other words, he prefers a few more weeks of false bliss knowing that he will not be prepared for the chaotic frenzy that could erupt.