Many longtime Pentagon critics are embracing sequestration as a way to reduce the defense budget and, in their minds, enforce fiscal responsibility. But sequestration will have exactly the opposite effect. Falling indiscriminately on every program, the cuts will disrupt construction projects and development programs, creating costly delays. They will reduce order numbers, thereby increasing unit costs and eliminating economies of scale. Taxpayers will get less for their dollar and troops will get less - period. As a cost-saving measure, sequestration is like a shortcut that ends up taking twice as long.
Congress faces grave challenges that demand hearty debate and creative compromises, not quick fixes that will create bigger problems down the road. I have every confidence that cooler heads will soon prevail and that Congress will reach a historic compromise that will save us from the blind budget cuts no one really wants.
Former Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) is a partner with Husch Blackwell and former chairman of the Armed Services Committee.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.