posted on November 30, 2011 18:17
Happening in Washington that Might Affect YOU!
By now just about everyone has heard that the “Super Committee” of twelve failed to reach an agreement on reducing the national debt. In accordance with the Budget Control Act of 2011 therefore sequestration is set to occur which mandates a $1.2 Trillion cut over ten years split evenly between defense and, generally speaking, entitlements. That means that beginning in 2013 the Pentagon is facing and additional $600 Billion in cuts beyond the approximately $400 Billion already called for by the President as the 2012 budget works its way through Congress. In recent weeks key members of both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees have spoken out against implementing such draconian cuts to America’s defense as has Secretary Panetta and the Service Chiefs.
So, what is the plan? Our sources inside Navy Pentagon tell us that the DoD has thus far not planned for the additional $600 B in cuts. While the President has made it clear that he does not favor the sequestration events he has said that he won’t accept a role back of the target amount of $1.2 T established by the Budget Control Act. Indications are, nonetheless, that the White House is approaching the 2013 budget as if sequestration will not occur. Consensus seems to be that the Pentagon’s 2013 budget preparation will proceed normally although the word normally probably elicits a chuckle from those involved. Normal is never normal.
Regardless of what defense cuts make their way through the process there can be no doubt that the DoD budget is going to shrink. That should concern AUSN’s members and anyone concerned with defense for two reasons: 1) While the size of our defense forces are never truly driven by requirements instead of dollars, now it seems that unabashedly force structure will be dollar driven. 2) Downward pressure on the defense budget will further pressurize the discussion about a revamping of the military pay and benefits system. Pressure will mount to “civilianize” how we compensate our military particularly our retired veterans. AUSN and The Military Coalition will have to keep up a constant dialogue with key Congress members and staffers to ward off hasty and ill-conceived change that could materially affect our all volunteer force.
For a great discussion of what our future military might look like in the years ahead we refer you to an excellent piece published by the Center for a New American Security and authored by LtGen David W. Barno USA (Ret), Nora Bensahel, and Travis Sharp. You can find it at www.cnas.org/hardchoices. Our sources inside Navy Pentagon say the Navy thinks they have this about right.