The whole sequestration affair is hard to follow because of the sheer volume of coverage that it is being afforded to it. There is also a lot of conjecture all around but this is the sort of stuff that we know is happening for certain that came out in Hagel’s speech:
WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Friday that civilian military employees will be told this month they will be furloughed in April because of automatic budget cuts and inflexible spending rules hitting the Pentagon.
Automatic spending cuts required by the 2011 budget bill went into effect Friday because of the failure of the White House and Congress to reach a deal to stop them.
The Pentagon is also operating under a budget plan, set to expire March 27, that is a continuation of the 2012 budget. Hagel and other Pentagon officials say that spending plan has not been adjusted to reflect changing conditions in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Hagel said he knows “the budget cuts will cause pain” but said they would not allow the military’s “capability to erode.”
Among the immediate actions to save money, Hagel cited:
- The Navy will idle four wings of aircraft.
- The Air Force will limit pilot training.
- Army units not deploying to Afghanistan will have limited training.
Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said eventually that will lead to a loss of readiness “that’s not safe.”
Hagel avoided the more dire tone of former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who said the cuts would make the United States a “second-rate power,” and said he hoped a solution can be reached that will “avert tremendous damage.”
The United States, Hagel said, has the world’s most capable military, and despite the problems caused by the spending cuts, he and the Joint Chiefs of Staff will not let that capability erode.
“I will do everything in my power to make sure America upholds its commitment to its allies,” Hagel in a news conference at the Pentagon.
There is osme terrific double speech here — they are going to make sure that it will hold up its commitments and they will not allow our power to erode while they are preventing the very training that makes it possible for us to be a first rate power.
Of course, this is going to have some major effects and the longer that it drags on the more that it could destroy the capability. Curtailing pilot training and other aspects of American air power does not bold well.
Assume that America’s enemies will be ready to take full advantage of this. It would be the only logical reaction.
God, how did we get into this mess?