The sequester is already having an impact on the four branches of the military serving the United States. The effects of Congress' prolonged budget debates are so severe, that even if the budget was agreed upon and passed immediately military experts are predicting that they will be felt into next year. According to a press release from the American Forces Press Service on the U.S. Department of Defense website, the sequester will significantly affect military readiness, and in the case of the Army, leave the military unable to carry out regular defense strategy.
According to a statement made by Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh on June 17, the sequester has grounded 33 Air Force fighter squadrons and that will cost a lot of money to undo. Air Force Magazine reported that Welsh said that the "big impact" of the sequester "will not be felt this year, it's next year and the year after that." Squadrons that aren't flying now will have to fly many extra hours to regain combat proficiency. "You can't just accelerate training and catch up. It costs somewhere around two-and-a-half times as much money to retrain a squadron as it does to keep it trained," he explained. However, "we're probably not going to get that….So this is going to stretch out for a while."
Service vice chiefs have continued to repeat that during a Senate Armed Services Committee's readiness subcommittee hearing on the state of the military readiness that the $41 billion spending cut in the Department of Defense budget over the next year will create support issues.
"The reality is that if sequestration continues as it is, … the Army simply will not have the resources to support the current defense strategic guidance, and we risk becoming a hollow force," testified Gen. John F. Campbell, Army vice chief of staff, according to the press release.
The Army, the largest of the four branches, is expected to suffer the most by the budget sequester. The sequester has resulted in curtailing training for most ground forces and cancelling exercises as a result of the $6 billion shortfall in operational funds.
The Navy has reported that the sequester has made it unable to maintain readiness and the ability to respond to world crisis. Adm. Mark E. Ferguson III, vice chief of naval operations has reportedly said that if the sequester cuts take effect in the 2014 fiscal year, the Navy will be unable to meet combatant commanders' requirements.
"By the end of this fiscal year, two-thirds of our non-deployed ships and aviation squadrons will be less than fully capable and not certified for major combat operations," Ferguson said according to the press release. He also stated that new deployments have been delayed or canceled and that in some cases, ship tours have been prolonged.
The issues derived from the sequester are not simple. It's not just decreasing the amount spent on ammunition – it's the decrease in soldiers' pay, veterans' benefits, military bases and cutting things such as training, reported The Washington Post.
The sequester will cost the army training at the basic squad and platoon level – leaving the men and women serving the United States less prepared to deal with the situations found overseas and at home. This will in turn lead to an increase in support costs and may even lead to more injuries and casualties in the field.
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