"The aging of the inventories and equipment used by the services, the decline in the size of the Navy, escalating personnel entitlements, overhead and procurement costs, and the growing stress on the force means that a train wreck is coming in the areas of personnel, acquisition and force structure."
Those are the words of the independent panel mandated with reviewing the Pentagon's enormous Quadrennial Defense Review, which many felt failed to grasp the policy, personnel and acquisition nettles addressed above. Keeping America well enough armed and ready to manage its strategic missions will "probably require" a defense budget increase, said QDR panel co-chairman Stephen Hadley.
The top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee seized on the panel's recommendations, saying the report "repudiates those seeking a peace dividend.," a clear shot across the bow at some Republicans and many Democrats who are increasingly pushing for a smaller Pentagon budget to limit the budget deficit.
[We'll update this story as the hearing progresses.]