The Vice Chiefs of Staff of the four largest military branches were on Capitol Hill today to discuss how their readiness to fight could be affected by budget cuts that have been enacted or are being considered.
The House Armed Services Committee held the hearing to gather testimony as the bipartisan "super committee" considers trimming defense programs as part of its attempt to meet its target of $1.5 trillion in cuts to the deficit. President Obama earlier this year proposed cutting $400 billion from Pentagon programs over the next decade.
If the House and Senate don't pass a minimum of $1.2 trillion deficit savings by the end of the year, automatic cuts ("sequestration") will occur, split 50-50 between defense and non-defense spending. Defense Secretary Panetta has called sequestration a "doomsday mechanism."
Testifying at today's hearing: Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli, Navy Vice Chief of Staff Adm. Mark Ferguson, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Philip Breedlove, and Marine Corps Assistant Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford.