A lot of words have been wasted about what the consequences of Sequestration will be. Especially on the Defense half. I’ve got 6 headlines presented here. Only this first one is probably true. The rest are fever dreams; the result of natural (natural in the sense of how our budget process has been designed to work, not in the sense of healthy and good) tendencies of agencies to maximize resources, avoid shortages, and, well, generally NOT be good stewards at any point in the process.
This one has a kernel of truth. Just as with the private sector, some stablity is necessary in order to plan and until they know what the future acually holds (or at least is likely to hold) they can’t plan effectively. Sort of. Because in this case, they’ve muddied the waters themsleves with all the dire “sky is falling” predictions, further down the list. How knows how much of this stuff they beleive themselves?
This one is interesting, if only because Military.com, the source of this screencap, has another story, here, that says that the force structure changes are going to go ahead despite sequestration. Keep going down this page for more inconsistency.
Helicopters will fall out of the skies. Aviation accidnets are tied to parts and maintenace budgets, but allow me to poitn out that this is an area that leadership has control over. They can scale back demand, or provide the money for supply, either way, to prevent this happening.
Gotta love this one. 800,000 DoD Civilians will be furloghed if Sequestration goes through. First, its calculated to make it look as bad as possible–furloughs in this case are a reduction from 5 to 4 days a week, and yes that’s a big impact on all those people, it’s a lot different than 800,000 lay offs, which is the mental assocation that they want the general public to make.
This claim is one of the most spurious of the bunch. Threatning to cut the Army by 200,000 troops (while adding 48 battalions and 48 new Engineer companies? really?) in the three components, if nothing else is a failure of imagination. Because of the difference in the cost of maintaining a Reserve Component soldier, compared one from the Active Component, force structure could be moved from AC to RC to save money. In fact, the force could be grown doing this for the same or less money. I understand the arguments against it. But the point is that we are deliberately being shown the darkest view of the situation.
I haven’t seen them yet, but I expect the next wave of stories will be about how Sequestration could impact the VA and military health care.
Strangely, the best information in the reality of Sequestration comes from Lawrence Kolb at the Center for American Progress, through the Huffington Post. The money part:
Sequestration would mean that the Pentagon would have to absorb $600 billion in reductions over the FY 2013-2021 period compared to projected levels. Adding in the $400 billion in reductions it is already planning to make would bring the total to about $1 trillion over the next decade.
But the letter does not mention that the baseline defense budget was projected to grow by 26 percent from $554 billion in FY 2012 to $696 billion in FY 2021, and that total (non-war) spending would be $6.2 trillion over this period. A $1-trillion reduction would mean spending “only” $5.2 trillion but would still result in a defense budget increase of almost 20 percent. In other words, there are no reductions. Defense would still grow, but not as fast. Moreover, sequestration will return defense spending in real terms to its FY 2007 level, the next to last year of the Bush administration, when no one was complaining about devastating levels of spending.
Nor does the letter contain any acknowledgement that over the past decade, the baseline budget has more than doubled and that total defense spending, even in the real terms, is higher than at any time since World War II.
There’s more. That’s why I provided the link.