Photo: US Army
With the failure of the Super Committee, the military now faces $600 billion in additional budget cuts, on top of the already $450 billion mandated by this summer’s budget agreement.defence Secretary Leon Panetta says the $450 can be borne, but the $1 trillion will gut the military.
Of course, that was why the amendment was put into the budget agreement in the first place. Democrats believed Republicans would be loathe to fail at the Super Committee if it meant drastic defence cuts. Once again, the Democrats were wrong.
With the cuts not kicking in until 2013, Congress will now focus on stopping them, though Obama has promised to veto any efforts to undo them.
Servicemembers are concerned their paychecks and their pensions will be targeted.
The military has a huge payroll, and bonus budget, to attract and retain servicemembers during time of war. Combined with an explosive health care bill for taking care of current and former members, and generous retirement package that promises 50-per cent pay after 20-years of service, something will have to give.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz told Congress earlier this month that, “Sweeping cuts would slash our investment accounts, raid our operations and maintenance accounts … and inflict real damage to the effectiveness and well-being of our airmen and their families. Ultimately, such a scenario gravely undermines our ability to protect the nation.”
With pay raises introduced every year in the military, the per person cost has risen 46 per cent over the last decade with the number of active duty officers remaining about the same.
Servicemembers have already had their pensions threatened earlier this year and military blogs lit up with outrage, while retiring soldiers shouted their relief that they were retiring before it happened. All branches of the service suffered a severe blow to morale, with commanders criticising political manoeuvring that affected battle readiness.
Troops are scared that a lifetime decision to serve their country may now blow up in their face. “How will failure of ‘super committee’ affect the military?” is currently the most read story at Stars and Stripes and the way things stand now, this will be the fight our military members will be focusing on for some time to come.
Next we will okk at the weapons programs most likely to be hit by the cuts.
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