Republicans certainly have a point when they say it’s hard to see how a two-percent sequestration of the federal budget will cause major damage. In the case of the military, though, the cuts really will be devastating. Half of the cuts will come from the fifth of the budget that is defense spending (entitlements are largely exempted), and the military has already absorbed multiple rounds of reductions. Because military pay is not cut, all the other military accounts must be cut 9% this year to achieve targeted savings, and since the fiscal year is half over, it will feel more like 18%. And then there’s that little detail of the Continuing Resolution, which freezes spending at last year’s level — not enough to cover operations and maintenance bills for this year. When you add the CR and sequester to other factors, like the need to protect soldiers and marines in war zones first, the impact on readiness will really be negative for much of the force. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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