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Issue Background: In 2011, Congress was in the midst of a heated debate about raising the debt ceiling.  To avert default, Congress came to an agreement that they would raise the United States’ borrowing limit in conjunction with the passage of the Budget Control Act of 2011.  In early August, the legislation established a Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or “Super Committee,” made up of six Representative and six Senators, half from both parties.  This left Congress with the task of finding $1.2 trillion in cuts over the next ten years.  However, by late November, the Committee failed to create a bipartisan solution.  As a result, if a deficit reduction bill of at least $1.2 trillion is not found by 1 January 2013, then automatic across-the-board cuts to all agencies, known as ‘sequestration,’ will be triggered on 2 January 2013.  The cuts will be split evenly between security and non-security programs, and would apply to discretionary and mandatory funding from the years 2013 to 2021, with the Department of Defense (DOD) looking at approximately $450 billion of those agency cuts.

Action Required: Contact your Representatives and Senators and urge them to hasten their efforts to prevent defense sequestration.  A bipartisan effort is needed to find a solution.  At this time solutions from both parties have not received the support needed from across the aisle, and our military is inching closer every day to falling off the fiscal cliff while Congress wavers to find a solution.  

Details (To Be Put Into Letter):
The Department of Defense is already trimming $487 billion from its projected spending over the next decade in their Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) Budget Request; however an additional $400 billion to $500 billion triggered by sequestration over the same period would have long-term repercussions.  The Navy has identified that a 300-ship fleet is needed to fulfill the new strategy and ensure American security. Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, said that if sequestration kicks in, we would be on course to have our 285-ship fleet of today reduced to a 223-ship fleet, well below the amount needed to ensure our national security, particularly as we aim to change our strategic posture in the Asia-Pacific theater.  As for the popularly held notion that the President would shield military personnel from cuts in the event of sequestration, two top Marine Corps Generals recently said they would advise the President to pair cuts to equipment with cuts to forces, too, because there’s little use to having people with no equipment.

The economic impact of defense sequestration would be enormous.  American workers in the defense industry as well as manufacturers, scientists, and engineers will all lose their jobs as uncertainty grows and defense contracts dry up.  Bruce Tanner, Lockheed's Chief Financial Officer (CFO), said the defense cuts could result in a total of 500,000 job losses next year alone, including about half from the Federal government and 100,000 to 200,000 across the defense industry.  The National Association for Manufactures (NAM) released a report that stated close to 1.2 million jobs could be lost as a result of inaction.  These companies employ many high-skilled and highly educated workers and keep the American military the best in the world. Any extended period in which we have fewer engineers, scientists and manufacturers working, the more we lose our technological advantage in the world. 

AUSN supports efforts by Congress to resolve the problem of Defense sequestration imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011 and will continue to advocate for a solution to the crisis which affects our Navy and defense community.

Take Action: Use the “Contact Congress” feature to immediately email and/or write to your Senators and Representatives. Use the ‘Details’ section as a sample letter for our “Contact Congress” feature.

You can e-mail the ‘Details’ section or edit as you desire. This is the quickest and most effective method of expressing your views to Congress. Also, contact friends and family and urge them to use Contact Congress as well. Please direct any questions concerning this issue to our Director of Legislation, Anthony Wallis, at 703-548-5800 or at

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