Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sequestration Will Undermine America’s Defense

This is funny but the reality is no joke

Beginning March 1, the sequestration plan created by Republicans and Democrats in 2011 will begin to hollow out the United States Department of Defense including our military forces. Although it was allegedly designed as a way to force a budget deal, that deal failed. Even the Republicans acknowledge that the sequestration cuts are now inevitable.

Over a trillion dollars will now be ripped from the budget, half of it from military spending and the other half from “discretionary” spending. That means programs other than Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid, the three programs that will ultimately break our financial backs.

If you recall the debates between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, Obama said the sequestration cuts to the military “will not happen.” Oops, guess that was merely a speaking point. But the blame for the budget slash and burn is equally shared by both Democrats and Republicans. In reality, I don’t believe the Democrats ever intended to negotiate a budget deal.

Why should the Democrats do anything when sequester gives them one of their major goals: a drastically reduced military? The cuts to discretionary programs are probably considered justifiable homicide to the Progressive Democrats.

The Pentagon is set to begin pay cuts or furloughs to some 800,000 civilians. Another 46,000 temporary workers will be released. There will be around 450,000 jobs lost in the Washington, D.C./Virginia area alone. A total of 2,000,000 civilian jobs are at risk.

To gauge the effects on the military itself, listen to some of the predictions as reported by the House Armed Services Committee:

  • The smallest ground force since before World War II;
  • The smallest Navy since before World War I;
  • The smallest tactical fighter force in the history of the Air Force;
  • The smallest civilian workforce in the history of the Defense Department;
  • Termination of the Joint Strike Fighter and next generation bomber;
  • Delay of the next generation ballistic missile submarine and cuts to our sub fleet;
  • Cancellation of the littoral combat ship;
  • Elimination of all modernization of ground combat vehicles and Army helicopters;

The report further quotes Obama’s own Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, who says sequestration would “undermine our ability to meet our national security objectives, generate significant operational risks, delay response time to crises, conflicts, and disasters, severely limit our ability to be forward deployed, and severely reduce force training and threaten overall operational readiness.”

After Vietnam, the military instituted the “RIF” or reduction in force. Qualified officers and enlisted men were released from active duty or were not allowed to reenlist. In 1981 I served in a reserve unit with staff sergeants, sergeants first class, or master sergeants who had served on active duty as captains, majors and lieutenant colonels. These troops had served their nation in wartime, but their full-time services were no longer required. They needed the reserve time, however, to get their twenty year retirements.

History is now repeating itself. The Army and the Marines alone are cutting tens of thousands of troops. All of this is happening at a time when the Obama administration wants to stick its nose into every single war in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Continue to hollow out the force and these young troops who have served three, four or even five tours in combat may not see home for a decade.

Drastically cutting our military is bad enough in the current world environment. What will happen if we are suddenly thrust into a major war? Once again, history reminds us of the effects of poor planning.

After we entered World War II with a small, unprepared military force, our new troops began training with sticks because there were not enough rifles.

Charles M. Grist
Author of the award-winning book My Last War: A Vietnam Veteran's Tour in Iraq

No comments:

Post a Comment