On 3 December 2012, the Press Club in Washington, DC, hosted four defense industry CEOs for a discussion on sequestration and national security. The speakers included Wes Bush (Northrop Grumman), David Hess (Pratt & Whitney), Dawne Hickton (RTI International Metals, Inc.), and David Langstaff (TASC). As the capitol buzzes with endless talk over the politics behind the fiscal cliff, the speakers, all of whom are associated with aerospace, gave some much-needed specifics to the years-old anxiety surrounding defense sequestration.
If the definition of defense policy is matching force structure to strategy, then according to the panel of CEOs, the Budget Control Act of 2011, which enacted sequestration, will severely inhibit this policy. No one spared a breath to defend the legislation; sequestration was variously described as “a peanut butter approach” (Hess), “a meat axe” (Bush), and “indiscriminate” (Langstaff). Though deficit reduction appeared to be a priority for the group, the quick and dirty defense cuts possibly coming in 2013 would make current U.S. national security strategy unworkable in their view.