Budget cuts endanger military readiness

As the government continues to make cuts in the budget, the pentagon comptroller recently told members of the financial community that unless sequestration is stopped soon, military readiness would suffer.

The Department of Defense is having to make large cutbacks because of the fiscal crisis. The DOD has already froze hiring civilians in everything save for mission-critical jobs, laid off temporary and term employees, cut back on travel and conferences and cut down on maintenance at bases.

"We are in triage mode in terms of getting through this year," Robert F. Hale, Undersecretary of Defense, said. "But these near-term actions won't solve the problems of sequestration."

The DOD, with some difficulty, still maintains wartime operations. It will also continue to prioritize top-priority missions, like wounded warrior programs and nuclear deterrence efforts.

"You can't leave troops in Afghanistan without the funds needed to protect themselves and wind down the war responsibility," Hale said. "When you add up all these effects, instead of an 8 percent cut, you are talking 15 to 20 percent for the remaining part of fiscal year 2013. The percentage of these cuts varies by service, with the Army taking the deepest ones."

Civilian furloughs will be consistently and fairly distributed through the DOD and may be essential when dealing with the 2013 budget issues.

A resolution was signed into law by President Barack Obama yesterday that provides a slight relief to the DOD. The resolution gives the DOD funding through September.

Hale communicated some hope that the president and Congress can reach a deal to end sequestration.