The Danger of Sequestration
For Immediate Release Contact: Susan Phalen
May 31, 2012 (202) 225-4121
In Case You Missed It
The Danger of Sequestration
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers
Excerpt from Floor Statement
H.R. 5743 FY13 House Intelligence Authorization Bill
“While we are on the subject of funding for our intelligence agencies, I would be remiss if I didn’t address the looming threat of sequestration, and the devastating consequences it would have for our vital intelligence operations.
“The Intelligence Community and the Congressional Intelligence Oversight Committees have worked together over the last year, in recognition of the current challenging fiscal environment, to find efficiencies in the intelligence budget. And we have done that. We have actually done more in certain areas by finding efficiencies in other areas and reducing the overall cost of our 17 agencies.
“Unlike the dangerous across-the-board cuts of the 1990’s, however, these funding cuts were carefully selected to ensure that no important operational intelligence capabilities were impacted.
“Let me be clear – the Intelligence Community has given until it hurts to produce budget efficiencies, but we did this without adversely affecting the mission, which is critically important.
“All of this careful work, however, will have been for nothing if Congress doesn’t avert the sequestration train wreck that is fast coming down the tracks. Sequestration will require a devastating cut to defense spending that will also entail dangerous across-the-board reductions in intelligence funding.
“The across-the-board nature of the sequester means that there is very little discretion left to our intelligence agencies about how to apportion these reductions.
“Let me give you just a few examples of the dangerous impact this would have:
- Thousands of intelligence officers and specialized technicians will be laid off, to include those working around the world, and around the clock, to stop terrorist plots before they arrive on U.S. shores.
- The National Security Agency would have to significantly reduce its ability to intercept, translate and analyze terrorist communications about their plans to attack the United States and Western targets. This would significantly reduce our odds of detecting and disrupting those terrorist plots.
- Intelligence Community support to our soldiers and Marines in harm’s way in Afghanistan would be significantly curtailed.
- The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) would be forced to cut back the number of satellite images that it analyzes, reducing our odds of detecting significant foreign military activity, such as North Korean preparations for an attack on our troops in South Korea.
“Our intelligence agencies and the important work they do is our first line of defense against the many threats around the world to our national security. Sequestration would be dangerous and irresponsible for many reasons, not the least of which is the threat to those vital intelligence capabilities, and Congress must act to avoid it.
“The House has put an offer on the table that would avert this disaster. We passed a bill earlier this month with responsible spending reforms that will bring down the debt without endangering our national security. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to take up this bill without further delay.”