“The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period,” President Obama said in his eighth and final State of the Union address.
“Our troops are the finest fighting force in the history of the world. No nation dares to attack us or our allies because they know that’s the path to ruin.”
But according to former Secretary of Defence Dr. Robert Gates, who served under both Obama and George W. Bush, t
here is one overwhelmingly large problem looming over the US military, and there is no simple solution.
Sequestration is immediate and indiscriminate budget cuts across-the-board that implement every portion of the military equally.
The problems of sequestration, according to Gates, are twofold.
Firstly, it increases uncertainty within the military.
“I think a big part of the problem is the lack of predictability in terms of the resources that the military is going to have,” Gates told Business Insider.
The second major problem of sequestration is that the process does not take into account the quality of what is being defunded.
“Sequestration has been a disaster for the military. It is the worst kind of budget cutting because it basically cuts everything at the same percentage,” Gates said.
“You’re cutting the most important things you do at the same rate you’re cutting the dumbest things that you do. No manager or leader can operate under those circumstances.”
Sequestration was put in place as part of the 2013 Budget Control Act. The act intends to cut federal spending by $1.2 trillion over the next decade with $500 million of cuts coming from the Pentagon.
Other officials beyond Gates have warned that the budget cuts could be extremely detrimental to the military. In September 2015, Undersecretary of Defence for Personnel and Readiness Brad Carson warned Stars and Stripes that the reduction in funding could cause a drawdown in the strength of the Army and the Marines, pushing the two branches to the breaking point.
However, not everyone is so certain that the dangers of sequestration are all that they are made up to be.
According to Jeremy Herb of Politico, sequestration is more of a boogeyman being used by the military to scare Congress into appropriating more funds to the military.
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