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Sequestration and the Nation’s Defense: Prospects and Perils

As the months slip by, the prospect of an additional $500 billion in defense cuts over the next 10 years increasingly looms, beyond the cuts of comparable magnitude already in effect under last summer’s Budget Control Act. Top Pentagon officials are voicing frequent and urgent concerns that sequestration will lead to the cancellation of weapons systems, curtail U.S. global operations and possibly invite conflict. How exactly would sequestration affect defense as well as the broader government? And what if anything might realistically be done to avert it?

On June 26, the 21st Century Defense Initiative at Brookings hosted a discussion on the implications of and potential alternatives to sequestration featuring a keynote address by Senator Kelly Ayotte (R.-N.H.), a member of the Armed Services and Budget committees. Panelists included: Brookings Senior Fellows Michael O’Hanlon, Peter W. Singer and Ron Haskins; Steve Bell of the Bipartisan Policy Center; David Worn of Palantir; Tom Davis of General Dynamics; Mackenzie Eaglen of the American Enterprise Institute; and Rebecca Grant of IRIS Independent Research.

After each panel, participants took audience questions.


Panel 1: Prospects for Sequestration

Steve Bell

Senior Director of Economic Policy - Bipartisan Policy Center

Panel 2: Implications—and Possible Solutions


Tom Davis

Vice President, Strategic Planning - General Dynamics

Keynote Address

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