“This week in DoD sequestration news” is a weekly post with highlights about what’s happened in the past five days.
The Pentagon Comptroller’s Thoughts
Pentagon Comptroller Bob Hale said a “grand bargain” in Congress could reduce the deficit and undo sequestration. But don’t count on it. Even though servicemembers haven’t been furloughed, sequestration has harmed them in other ways, including readiness and training. Without that, military commanders, in Hales’ words, “can’t fulfill the president’s national security strategy.”
Result: According to Hale, in some instances the budget is driving the strategy.
The Service Chiefs’ Thoughts
The four service chiefs testified on Capitol Hill this week about sequester-related budget cuts. Similar to Hale’s comments, they all said they would not be able to meet the demands of the national security strategy.
Army – Force would shrink, threatening readiness for boots-on-the-ground combat. The U.S. would risk not being able to conduct one major combat operation. Active-duty troop levels would drop by at least 150,000, half of combat teams would be eliminated and more training would be canceled, leaving them unprepared.
Marine Corps – Force would shrink to a “minimally acceptable risk,” also threatening readiness for boots-on-the-ground. Combat arms battalions and aircraft would be downsized.
Navy – Fewer aircraft and carrier strike groups, meaning sending out additional carriers (Syria) would be more and more difficult. Surface fleet would drop by 30.
Air Force – Airmen would be cut by about 4 percent and 550 aircraft would be cut. Fleets, maintenance and logistics would have to be eliminated.
Sources: defenseone.com, militarytimes.com