Sequestration – Yet another Fight 

7/23/2012 12:00 AM 

Folks, sequestration is a legislative term that basically means required spending cuts and because it is a term that is not well-understood by the public, I have attached a background paper here.

AUSA is in the forefront of the fight to get our Congress to prevent sequestration legislatively (as it pertains to the Department of Defense budget) before it occurs in January 2013.  There is an urgent need for action now because defense contractors must plan for the effects of sequestration far in advance of its implementation in order to continue their support of vital defense equipment and service requirements.

Not only would sequestration damage the defense industrial base but the ripple effects of layoffs and delayed or cancelled contracts could well plunge the national economy into recession.  At a time when our nation faces a wide range of national security threats, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin E. Dempsey testified before Congress that should sequestration occur, equipment, maintenance and training accounts would take the brunt of the cuts and “then we’ve hollowed out the force.”

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta described the implementation of sequestration as a “doomsday” scenario that would leave the United States essentially defenseless.  “It’s a ship without sailors.  It’s a brigade without bullets.  It’s an air wing without enough trained pilots.  It’s a paper tiger,” he said, while Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter called it the equivalent of “assisted suicide for the DoD.”

In testimony on Capitol Hill, defense industry leaders said that in the absence of a clear path forward, they are already holding back investments, questioning the fairness of ongoing competitions, doubting the viability of existing contracts and starting to trim capacity.

AUSA believes that ending the specter of sequestration must occur soon and must not occur on the backs of our civilian workforce who are already laboring under a two-year pay increase freeze.  Defense contractors are already reducing workforces and budgets in anticipation of a sequestration trigger, and those initiatives ultimately will create ripples that will become problematic for the Department of Defense.

I have sent letters to the House and Senate leadership urging action and our legislative team has been on Capitol Hill explaining the potential for disaster that sequestration poses. You can add your voice to this fight by visiting the Legislative Agenda page on  AUSA’s website, www.ausa.org.  Click on the "Contact Congress" link and then on the prepared letter “Stop Sequestration Now”.   I urge you to do so.  Each day closer to January, 2013 that sequestration is not solved, is one more day of uncertainty for our national defense.