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Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) warns sequestration is hollowing-out our military

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July 12, 2013

The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) warns Washington’s lack of progress to repeal ongoing budget sequestration actions will threaten the fundamental capabilities of our nation’s armed forces amid an ongoing war.

“Threatened sequestration budget cuts under the 2011 Budget Control Act were designed to be so onerous, so senseless, that a budget deal would have to be struck to prevent mindless budget slashing targeting the Department of Defense to take 50-percent of the cuts,” MOAA President Vice Adm. Norbert R. Ryan, Jr. said. “Yet a budget deal was never reached. Here we are, halfway through the first year of cuts, and there is woefully little discussion or movement toward securing a bipartisan agreement to avoid harmful sequestration effects for not only fiscal year 2014, but for the next nine years.”

Without an agreement, the Pentagon faces yet another $52 billion in across-the-board cuts in fiscal year 2014 alone.

“Unfortunately, media outlets make it appear that sequestration has had little or no impact. The Washington Post recently ran an article, “Budget Cuts, But No Chaos,” stating sequestration was milder than forecasted,” Ryan said. “MOAA completely disagrees with these perceptions. People are going to suffer long-term morale problems across the DOD community; including DOD civilians, as well as uniformed service members and their families.”

Ryan said MOAA members report sequestration is already taking a toll on our military families who have endured over 12 long years of war. Families are genuinely worried and anxiety is building as there is no immediate resolution in sight. Children in defense schools will lose 5 instructional days at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year alone. Commissaries are closing more days per week, which affects all families, but especially those overseas. Summer recreational facilities and programs have been cut back or canceled. Many parents rely on these programs heavily to balance the needs of their families. Families say ignoring the impact on their morale is simply callous.

Additionally, for the past several months, the nation’s military readiness has suffered and will continue to diminish if nothing is done. The Air Force has already slashed flying hours by 30-percent, greatly reducing the opportunity to maintain pilot proficiency. The Navy has canceled the deployment of at least six ships and renegotiated critical procurement contracts. And if sequestration continues, the Army and Marine Corps will likely see additional large personnel force cuts.

The Pentagon has imposed 11-day furloughs affecting more than 600,000 DoD civilian employees and TRICARE is expected to run out of money in August, so health care access for more than 9.6 million beneficiaries will be reduced.

Recently, the Senate Armed Services Chair Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and ranking member James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), asked DoD to outline what future cuts might have to take place. On July 10, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel released a statement that outlines the following harmful impacts if sequestration remains in effect for fiscal year 2014:

  • Acceleration of force drawdowns 
  • Reductions in flying hours and training drills 
  • 10-percent reductions in operations and maintenance accounts 
  • 15- to 20-percent cuts in modernization accounts 
  • Involuntary reductions-in-force to cut civilian personnel costs 
  • Hiring freezes 
  • Halting all accessions 
  • Ending all permanent-change-of-station moves 
  • Stopping discretionary bonuses 
  • Freezing all promotions

MOAA agrees with Inhofe, as he cautioned, “Sequestration is leading to the hollowing-out of our military.”

“Congress and the administration need to act now so that the Pentagon can plan and execute both long- and short-term programs,” Ryan said. “Military readiness and national security should never be used as political brinkmanship. A bipartisan, balanced solution is needed now.”