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Defense Secretary Ash Carter testifies before the House Appropriations Committee's defense panel on May 6, 2015. Screenshot photo.

After years of pulling modernization and recapitalization dollars to fund force structure and readiness, the defense system is “now unbalanced,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter told members of the Senate Appropriations defense panel on Wednesday. Carter and out-going Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Army Gen. Martin Dempsey pleaded with Congress to stop sequestration and to provide a long-term funding solution that will provide service members and their families the stability they deserve. “Equipment and capabilities of too many components of the military are growing too old, too fast—from our nuclear deterrent to our tactical forces,” said Carter. “Painful, but necessary reforms imposed by DOD,” such as retiring older force structure and “reasonable adjustments in compensation have been denied by Congress. We’re starting to see this double whammy once again in markups of the budget this year.” Both Carter and Dempsey opposed the current budget plan to keep the base budget at Budget Control Act caps and pad the overseas contingency operations funds. “With respect to confrontation and gridlock, I hope we can come together and get past this by the end of the year,” said Carter. “A nickel and dime approach” to the defense budget “is not the right one.”