Pentagon leaders have been warning for years that formulaic cuts to the defense budget would damage America’s military, and now it’s about to happen. The first blow will come not from sequestration as everybody expected, but from a continuing resolution that limits fiscal 2013 spending to prior-year levels while largely precluding funding shifts between major accounts. Unless Congress acts soon, though, the impact of the continuing resolution will be compounded beginning March 1 by sequestration, which was delayed until then by a bipartisan agreement on New Year’s Day. The cumulative impact of both measures, plus the uncertainty surrounding whether the continuing resolution will remain in force for the full year, is likely to devastate communities that rely on military bases and defense factories for their prosperity. All of the services have issued guidance to freeze civilian hires, defer maintenance of combat systems, and make other cuts likely to impact local economies. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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