Beginning in September, members of the bipartisan committee on deficit reduction, which has become known as the “Supercommittee,” has been working on how to cut $1.2 trillion in federal spending over the next 10 years. Unfortunately, they failed to meet the Nov. 23, 2011 deadline.
This means terms agreed to August regarding the $1.2 trillion will go into effect. Half of that amount will be pulled from defense programs, and the other half will be spread over non-security programs, although Social Security and Medicaid will be protected. The cuts would go into effect starting in 2013.
What does that mean for the military?
Troops could see fewer military jobs, less dwell time, more outdated equipment and plenty of frustration for military planners for years to come, making morale and enlistment key issues for the future. Lack of funding could also lead to poor readiness and an inability to keep up with adversaries.
The military’s end strength and equipment replacement would likely face drastic cutbacks. According to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, the National Guard response to U.S. natural disasters would likely be curtailed, and fewer personnel could mean longer deployments for the troops left serving. This would mean a significant decline in humanitarian efforts by the U.S.
With the already in-the-works changes to military retirement and new Tricare fees for veterans, moves that could save hundreds of millions of dollars, cutting military pay and cost-of-living for veterans could be on the chopping block.
A Dec. 16 deadline could be one of the last opportunities to make changes to the defense budget for the 2012 fiscal year.
Photo thanks to Luke Robinson under creative commons license on Flickr.