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Sequestration remains a major stumbling block for the Army

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

It is hearing season on the hill and AUSA has submitted testimony before the Joint House and Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committees, and will submit testimony to the Personnel Subcommittees of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees in conjunction with our partners in The Military Coalition.

There are encouraging signs that defense spending will be higher than last year, and much higher than sequestration will allow, but only because Congress looks as though it will add money to the Overseas Contingency Fund which does not have to be offset.

That will allow Congress not to exceed sequestration caps while still providing more money for defense.

However, sequestration remains the major stumbling block, and as AUSA President Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, USA, Ret., has said over and over: "Sequestration is an unrealistically rigid budget control measure that is causing defense officials to face an impossible choice of deciding to fund readiness, training, education, operational activities and some modernization or fully fund soldier and family programs."

If Congress will just get rid of sequestration, it will not have to resort to gimmicks to fund defense, and the Department of Defense will have a predictable funding stream, not one that is empty one day and full the next.

This is why AUSA members must band together to force Congress to end sequestration.

AUSA believes that the primary source of the budget challenges that face the Department of Defense (DoD) is the devastating effect of the sequestration provision of the Budget Control Act of 2011.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 mitigated the sequestration spending cuts for FY 2014 and 2015.

However, the original sequestration cuts scheduled for FY 2016 thru 2021 remain in effect and will exacerbate the situation by continuing to place national security at risk.

Sequestration is having a profoundly adverse effect on the defense of the nation – and it will do so well into the next decade.

Over the past two years sequestration has:

Set America on a path to reduced military readiness and national security.

Sequestered budgets are rapidly shrinking the nation’s military forces to unprecedented and even unacceptable levels, thereby creating unready forces unable to accomplish the tasks assigned by the defense strategy.

All of this while the world security environment becomes increasingly uncertain and dangerous.

Required that 50 percent of mandatory budget cuts come from defense – even though the defense budget is only 17 percent of the federal budget.

How in such a dynamic and dangerous world can we be so shortsighted?

Created an atmosphere of fiscal desperation that leads to false arguments and false choices when it comes to the compensation and benefits provided to the service members and families who make up our All-Volunteer Force.

Sequestration is a disruptive piece of legislation indicative of a government seemingly unable to function as a responsible democracy.

Furthermore, sequestration is patently unresponsive to the needs of a nation that is part of a rapidly changing world in which we cannot predict the future.

It locks the nation into a creaky, slow moving, lockstep budget process that is irresponsible and unaccountable.

In the coming weeks and months, Sullivan will continue to urge you to tell Congress: Get at the root cause of the budgetary problems consuming DoD and end sequestration permanently before more damage is done and we are left with an inadequate national defense force in 2021.

Get an early start, add your voice to his and contact Congress to urge the members to end sequestration permanently.

Go to our website, www.ausa.org, click on the "Contact Congress" link, enter your zip code and click on the AUSA-prepared letter to Congress titled "End Sequestration Permanently."

Stay with us through this very busy time in the congressional year.