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How will the Military be Impacted by Sequestration?

Written by on Friday, November 30th, 2012

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama spoke to House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) about the looming fiscal cliff and sequestration. Although tense and short, it was the first step to bi-partisan cooperation to settle the stormy financial waters that are a short 32 days away.

The “fiscal cliff” includes both the Bush-era tax cuts, that are currently scheduled to be rescinded in January as well as the Budget Control Act that would trigger $500 billion across-the-board defense spending cuts over the next decade unless an equivalent plan is put in place by Congress. The “cliff” will impact every American on both sides of the aisle but with the Budget Control Act or better known as sequestration; the U.S. military will suffer the greatest.

The Office of Management and Budget released a report last week that predicted the effects of the sequestration on the U.S. military if things did not change course. In the report, it was noted that although military personnel would be exempt from the cuts, there would be a 9.4 percent hit on all other programs across DOD. The $500 billion dollar cut would encompass ten years of cuts but the 2013 effects would come right away and effect military readiness, military health care and military retirees. In addition, DOD civilians would probably be given unpaid furloughs, hiring freezes would occur as well as programs affecting weapons maintenance, contracting, and financial management would be impacted.

Sequestration would greatly impact our military’s ability to perform their job. As General Larry Spencer, Air Force Vice Chief of Staff stated, “sequestration would affect our ability to fulfill current wartime deployments, operational requirements and defense of the homeland, but it would also significantly impact our ability to prepare for future operations and make investments in modernization.”

Added by the Marine Corps Assistant Commandant, General Joseph Dunford Jr, “ One of my greatest concerns about sequestration…is that we will lose the trust and confidence of the all-volunteer force that we have worked so hard to build.”

The U.S. military has answered the call to deploy on a moment’s notice, to leave their families for fifteen months at a time, endured multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and have sacrificed in life and limb to serve the very country that stands at the brink of leaving them less capable and diminished in the tools that they need to perform their tasks. The partisan politics and home-state haggling must be set aside to come to a resolution, the time is now to stop using the military as leverage and agree upon a deficit-reduction plan that is not on the backs of the warfighters.

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