Full effects of the sequester’s damage are yet to be seen
To the Editor,
In fiscal year 2013, we saw the sequester do great damage to the U.S. military’s readiness [“Fairfax feels the effects of Washington’s blunders,” editor’s column, November issue]. The deployment of an entire carrier group to the Persian Gulf, and maintenance for hundreds of aircraft and ships, were cancelled. One third of the entire aircraft fleet (including many combat units) of the Air Force was stood down for a lack of funding. The Army and the Marines have canceled training for all their units except those deploying, or preparing to deploy, to Afghanistan or South Korea.
And yet, that was just the foretaste of the damage sequestration will do, in the long term, to America’s military if this cretinous, suicidal mechanism is allowed to remain the law.
According to the Army’s chief of staff, he’ll have only two to three fully combat-ready brigades left. The Air Force’s chief of staff says he’ll have to retire entire fleets of planes, including the B-1, the A-10 and the KC-10 tanker. The chief of naval operations says he’d have to defer maintenance on hundreds and hundreds of Navy aircraft and warships, reduce planned ship and plane buys significantly, and be unable to enter into money-saving multiyear procurement contracts. The Marines would have to cancel every modernization program except their new amphibious tractor.
And all four services will decline dramatically in size: for example, the Army would be cut to 380,000 active duty personnel, the Marines to 150,000 or fewer, and the Navy will decline to just 230 vessels, at a time it can meet only 59 percent of COCOM’s [Combatant Command’s] requests for warships.
And since the Navy will, like other services, be hit hard, Virginia and its shipbuilding industry will suffer greatly, too.
The only thing good about this damage to the nation’s military is that it has, and will continue to, utterly disprove the falsity of those who downplayed, and continue to downplay, the damage this mechanism is doing to America’s defense.
Mazurak is a defense correspondent with ConservativeDailyNews.