But he and other officials noted the difficulty of doing their jobs in a climate of budget uncertainty. Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale said the turmoil has delayed the 2014 budget. The president usually unveils it in February.
“I don’t know what my budgets are going to be. I’m standing on quicksand right now,” said Heidi Shyu, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology.
Navy Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations, said he was particularly concerned about small suppliers of critical components.
“I worry about the industrial base. If it’s not the prime (contractor) it’s below the prime, it’s the second or third. It’s Bob’s nuclear valve shop, Jimmy’s nuclear,” he said, noting that 90 percent of the Navy’s nuclear components come from companies that are a sole supplier.
“I can’t say it’s vulnerable, but that’s the one I worry about most,” Greenert said.
Officials have said cuts of $50 billion per year over a decade will force the Pentagon to throw out the new defense strategy it implemented last year, which called for a shift in strategic focus to Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.
Since the new budget cuts went into effect on March 1, defense officials increasingly have been talking about revising the military strategy to align it more closely with the resources the department is likely to have in the coming years.
“If there are to be substantial additional cuts, what we ask for is time to redo this strategy,” Hale said. “We need to reconsider it so that we have a blueprint that’s consistent with whatever level of resources we are likely to get and gets as much national security ... as we can.”