March 13, 2014 —
March 13, 2014 – The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 provided an important
reprieve by enabling short-term readiness fixes and selected program buybacks
of significant importance, the commander of North American Aerospace Defense
Command and U.S. Northern Command said today.
the challenges posed by sequestration and the Budget Control Act remain, Army
Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr. told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Defense Department’s ability to plan and decide strategically and find
innovative solutions to complex national security challenges is hampered by the
budget uncertainty, he said.
recent Bipartisan Budget Act only postpones, but does not eliminate, the risks
to our future readiness and ability to meet the missions specified in the
defense strategic guidance of 2012,” Jacoby said before calling on Congress to
find a permanent fix.
department made a “hard choice” when it implemented the furlough of civilian
employees as a cost-cutting measure, the general said. “This decision
compromised morale, unsettled families and caused us to break a bond of trust
-- one that is absolutely critical to the accomplishment of our mission,” he
unsettling, Jacoby said, is that NORAD's ability to execute its primary mission
has been subjected to increased risk due to the degradation of Air Force combat
the vigilance and the support of Air Combat Command and the [U.S. Air Forces in
Europe], we've been able to sustain our effective day-to-day posture, but that
comes at the cost of overall U.S. Air Force readiness, which continues to hover
at 50 percent,” the general said.
to national security are becoming more diffuse and less attributable, the
general noted. Ultimately, he said, crises elsewhere in the world can rapidly
manifest themselves in the United States and make the nation more vulnerable.
we stand constant vigil against asymmetric network threat activities, Russian
actions in the Ukraine demonstrate that symmetric threats remain,” Jacoby said.
“Al-Qaida and transnational criminal networks continue to adapt, and they do so
much more quickly than we do.”
deter and defeat these globally networked threats, the United States must
prioritize its support to its partners in the law enforcement community and the
international community, the general said.
“tangible evidence of North Korean and Iranian ambitions confirms that a
limited ballistic missile threat to the homeland has matured from a theoretical
to a practical consideration,” he added.
and NORAD are working with the Missile Defense Agency to address concerns about
the potential for proliferation of these lethal technologies, Jacoby said.
Together, the three agencies are investing in a “tailored solution to address
the challenges that advancing missile technologies impose on our ballistic
missile defense system architecture,” he noted.
and NORAD are working together to address a variety of other challenges, the
general said. As seasonal ice decreases, for example, the Arctic is evolving
into an increasingly important strategic issue, he told the Senate panel.
we continue to work with our premier Arctic partner, Canada, and other
stakeholders to develop our communications domain awareness infrastructure and
presence in order to enable safety, security, and defense in the far north,”
an in-depth defense of the nation requires partnerships with neighboring
countries, the general said.
futures are inextricably bound together. And this needs to be a good thing in
the security context,” he said. “The stronger and safer they are, the stronger
our partnerships, the safer we all are collectively. And this creates our
common, competitive security advantage for North America.”
also stands ready to respond to national security events and to support the
federal response to man-made or natural disasters, he said.
challenge remains to not be late to need,” the general said. “The men and women
of Northcom and NORAD proudly remain vigilant and ready, as we stand watch over
North America and adapt to the uncertainty of the global security environment
and fiscal realities.”
Claudette Roulo on Twitter @rouloafps)