Headlines in the Midlands
Military leaders gather to discuss huge, looming defense cuts
August 12, 2012
COLUMBIA, SC - State and federal political and military leaders gathered for a press conference, Wednesday, Aug. 8, to discuss the impact $1.2 trillion in cuts to domestic and military spending (aka sequestration) would have on the state and national economies, as well as the nation’s ability to defend itself. Sequestration is slated to begin in Jan. 2013.
S.C. Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom, former state treasurer and current chair of the S.C. Military Base Task Force, said the looming cuts pose “a threat greater than 9/11.”
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham – a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a colonel in the Air Force Reserve – thanked Eckstrom for his being "very involved" in defending against sequestration and for his work with the Task Force, the group which is appointed and tasked by Gov. Nikki Haley to protect the state's military bases from federal base realignments and closures (BRAC).
Eckstrom, a retired Navy captain who also serves as commanding general of the S.C. State Guard, compared sequestration to “eating our seed corn.” He added current budget concerns have much to do with allowing government to spend money it doesn’t have.
Graham agreed. “It nauseates me that the men and women in uniform would be a pawn in the tax debate.” He said.
Haley reminded attendees that the military is “a core function of government.” She added that the military cuts would cost the state about 14,000 jobs, and that leaders should focus on cutting “entitlements” rather than defense.
Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston, the adjutant general of S.C. and commanding general of the S.C. Military Dept., said scheduled sequestration would result in the “smallest” American military force “in modern times.”
The press conference was held at the S.C. National Guard armory in Columbia.
– 1st Lt. Keith Pounds is a former U.S. Navy Corpsman and a serving officer in the S.C. State Guard