Sequestration Delay: Remarks from Sec. Leon Panetta

Sec. of Defense Leon Panetta

Sec. of Defense Leon Panetta

Below is a written statement from Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta:

“On behalf of the Department of Defense, I want to express our thanks to the Democratic and Republican Members of Congress who voted to temporarily avert sequestration.  Hopefully, this will allow additional time to develop a balanced deficit reduction plan that would permanently prevent these arbitrary cuts.

“Had Congress not acted, the Department of Defense — along with other federal agencies — would have been forced to begin taking dramatic steps that would have severely impacted our civilian personnel and disrupted our mission.  For more than a year, I have made clear that sequestration would have a devastating impact on the Department.  Over the past few weeks, as we were forced to begin preparing to implement this law, my concerns about its damaging effects have only grown.  As an example, had Congress failed to act, I would have been required to send out a notice to our 800,000 civilian employees that they could be subject to furlough.

“Congress has prevented the worst possible outcome by delaying sequestration for two months.  Unfortunately, the cloud of sequestration remains.  The responsibility now is to eliminate it as a threat by enacting balanced deficit reduction.  Congress cannot continue to just kick the can down the road.

“This Department is doing its part to help the country address its deficit problem by working to implement $487 billion in spending reductions in accordance with our new defense strategy.  The specter of sequestration has cast a shadow over our efforts.  We need to have stability in our future budgets.  We need to have the resources to effectively execute our strategy, defend the nation, and meet our commitments to troops and their families after more than a decade of war.

“Every day, the men and women of this Department put their lives on the line to protect us all here at home.  Those of us in Washington have no greater responsibility than to give them what they need to succeed and to come home safely.  My hope is that in the next two months, all of us in the leadership of the nation and the Congress can work together to provide that stability and to prevent sequestration once and for all.  Our national security demands no less.”

4 Tips to Help Your Service Member Seek Mental Health Help

U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Sean Stevenson takes a knee while on a security patrol in Sangin, Afghanistan, June 6, 2011. Stevenson is a corpsman with Combined Anti-Armor Team 2, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 8. The U.S. Marines conduct frequent patrols through the area to show a presence and interact with the community to find ways to help the populace. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Nathan McCord/Released)

U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Sean Stevenson takes a knee while on a security patrol in Sangin, Afghanistan, June 6, 2011. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Nathan McCord/Released)

A family member is usually the first to know when something is wrong with their service member whether its depression or symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. But getting your loved one to seek help is easy to put-off.

There are a few tips to help prepare and present a case for help offered by experts at the Defense Centers of Excellence:

Gather information
Become informed about PTSD, family reintegration, combat stresses, depression, alcohol and drug use to start.  Try these resources.

Talk about your concerns
Talk openly about your thoughts, feelings and concerns you have about how the veteran is feeling or reacting to situations. Refrain from using the pronoun “you” – instead, try saying, “I know things are not going well right now … I’d like to help.”

Recognize your service member or veteran’s choices
Demanding someone seek help can backfire. Avoid making threats. Talk about choices. Only the individual can make the choice and commitment to improve their lives, but your support can make this more likely.

Get help from others about talking with your loved one
If you’re having trouble talking to your service member about mental health concerns or just want to know about the right treatment resources, Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 can be a good start.

For those family members concerned about a military veteran, you can contact Coaching Into Care at 888-823-7458. This program, provided by Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), helps family members assist their veteran in accessing health and mental health care.

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