At the heart of many of the budget challenges facing the Defense Department is the devastating effect of the sequestration (across the board spending cuts) provision. Our government’s approach to deficit reduction has become rigid and unresponsive to the ever changing security needs of our nation. Sequestration, though eased somewhat this year, specifically targets the defense budget for the next five years.
In August 2011, Congress passed the Budget Control Act (BCA) to resolve the debt ceiling mess. Lawmakers in both chambers passed this act with bipartisan support and President Obama signed it into law. The legislation included $1.2 trillion in cuts and directed that a joint House and Senate super-committee be created to find another $1.2 trillion by Nov. 23, 2011. The super-committee failed in its mission and sequestration went into effect in 2013.
Each year, budget cuts are split evenly between non-war defense spending and discretionary domestic spending. Sounds fair until you realize that the overall Defense portion of the Federal Budget is only 17 percent! Therefore, the BCA was skewed against Defense programs from the start with disproportionate sequestration cuts coming from America’s military.
DoD’s portion of sequestration is $52 billion per year through 2021 on top of the $487 billion already agreed to with the Army absorbing the lion’s share of the cut. Over the past two years sequestration has managed to set America on a path to reduced military readiness and security. Sequestered budgets are rapidly shrinking the nation’s military force to unprecedented levels thereby creating units less able to accomplish their mission, particularly in a world that is increasingly uncertain and dangerous (Ukraine).
With sequestration, Congress has driven a wedge between our active military forces and our reserve and National Guard forces, most notably in the United States Army. It has created unnecessary divisiveness, and acrimony within the U.S. military between servicemembers and leaders who just months ago were serving side by side in combat.
Please write to Congress and urge them to apply deficit reduction measures more evenly across the federal budget, and stop sequestration. Go to AUSA.org, go to Legislative Agenda, click contact Congress.