The automatic Federal domestic and defense spending cuts of $85 Billion for fiscal year 2013 are posed for enactment on March 1st. The Department of Defense (DOD) is scheduled to absorb $42 Billion of the total Federal targeted amount.
The majority of the DOD cuts are programmed to come from the various military components’ operation and maintenance accounts. Those accounts hold the civilian pay lines and just about all civilian personnel in the DOD are facing 22 days of non paid furloughs. That is not the case with the military pay accounts.
Under United States Code, Title 10, National Defense Act, military members cannot be furloughed. Military personnel will continue to be paid their full salary during fiscal year 2013 which covers the period October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013.
However, military agencies have slowed down their recruiting actions and reduced their military skills training schedules. The net effect of these actions means that the currently deployed military forces may see their tours overseas extended until fully trained replacement troops are qualified for deployment.
At military installations around the globe, from the camp sites in Afghanistan, or from SHAPE Headquarters in Belgium to Joint Base Langley – Eustis in Virginia, supplies, equipment and maintenance will be reduced due to the cuts in operational funding.
This means that only the highest level or most critical, mission essential equipment will be taken care of first, while lower priorities will be delayed or even eliminated during the sequestration.
At the current time, heads of the military departments are still working on manageable plans on how to realize the necessary spending cuts during the remaining seven months in the current fiscal year.
The unified major concern of the military leaders is how to keep the military in force ready operation for daily responsibilities and for local and national contingencies.
The normal programming time frame for the military is five to ten years into the future.
Implementing a sequestration will reduce that visionary focus to the very near future of one to two months out.
Contracted support, provided in Federal contracts, that manages necessary areas like the motor pool and aircraft repair and maintenance may require that the contracts be renegotiated due to the lower amount of work to be performed and the reduced availability of replacement parts.
There is currently no authorized budget for fiscal year 2013, so the DOD has been operating under a Continued Resolution Authority (CRA) that holds spending at 2012 levels. This means that DOD already exists at a reduced operational financial capability.
When coupling the CRA with the sequestration there are some programs that face the real danger of being hollowed out. To recover to full readiness mode when the sequestration period is over may actually cost more than the forced spending reductions were to achieve.
Secretary of the Navy thanks family members for their support after re-enlisting 12 sailors at an all-hands call held at NAS Whidbey Island. During the all-hands call, Mabus thanked those assembled for all they do.
Wherever there are civilian personnel or contractors providing a service, there will be fewer employees available on a daily basis during a sequestration.
For military family members living on military installations, off base military housing, using military schools and patronizing military medical facilities, shopping in stores in a military mall or at the commissary, there will be fewer services available under sequestration during the remainder of the fiscal year.
In some cases, depending on how large the installation is, some facilities may be closed and the services may be combined with other like facilities on the base.
The civilians who maintain military housing units will be affected also. There will be fewer repair and maintenance personnel available, as well as delayed acquisition of supplies necessary to make repairs.
The leaders within the DOD remain hopeful that a compromise will be reached by Congressional committee members before too much time has elapsed and that any danger to high priority, high ticket costly items can be avoided.