You can help AUSA destroy the Doomsday Device

You can help AUSA destroy the Doomsday Device

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Once upon a time, there was a legislative body called “Congress.”

In the summer of 2011, after the Great Recession and looking at a staggering deficit, there was an argument over raising the debt limit, and the two sides were gridlocked over what to do.

One day, after much debate and with no solution in sight, they constructed a “Doomsday Device” called the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011.

This law would first cut proposed discretionary spending by $1 trillion, and then set up a “Super Committee” to figure out how to cut an additional $1 trillion.

The law passed with bipartisan support.

The Doomsday Device was meant to be a forcing function that wasn’t supposed to happen.

If the Super Committee couldn’t come to an agreement over how to cut another $1 trillion, then the Doomsday Device would activate something called “sequestration.”

Sequestration would make across-the-board cuts to any discretionary appropriations that exceeded a new lower level of budget caps.

Some would refer to sequestration as a “goofy meat axe approach” and a “self-inflicted head wound.”

However, when the bipartisan Super Committee failed and the members threw up their arms, the Doomsday Device was activated, and sequestration hit government spending in 2013.

In the military, training was stopped, deployments were delayed, maintenance was curtailed, readiness decreased and government civilians were furloughed.

All of this was bad but, luckily, the world didn’t end.

Since then, Congress has applied several temporary fixes to increase the spending caps in the Bipartisan Budget Acts of 2013 and 2015.

Those temporary fixes ran out with the passage of the Fiscal Year 2017 Omnibus Appropriations Bill during the first week of May 2017, (eight months after the beginning of the fiscal year).

Now, for Fiscal Year 2018, which starts on Oct. 1, Congress must once again face the Doomsday Device.

The Congressional defense committees and the Department of Defense agree that the spending caps are too low, given the strategic situation in the world today.

However, if the administration proposes a budget that exceeds the Budget Control Act budget caps, Congress must either change the law to increase the caps, or the money they appropriate will be cut by sequester to bring the spending back to the level of the budget caps.

This sounds laughably silly until you realize that this BCA is causing a gigantic strategic mismatch. Strategy is the balance between ends, ways and means.

If you want to play a global superpower role (the end), then it requires capabilities (ways) that cost resources (means).

If your ends exceed your means, then that is called risk. At first you can stretch and do more with less, and still have acceptable levels of risk.

However, like a teeter-totter suspended in mid-air, eventually one side will tilt too far, and the risk becomes unacceptable.

That is where our military is now.

The cumulative effects of insufficient funding since 2012 while mission demand has continued to grow has caused our military to sacrifice the future to keep pace with the present.

Army modernization has consciously been held back to buy current readiness, which we are consuming as fast as we can build.

Our allies and our enemies can see this strain.

They see that our Congress is letting an arbitrary budget device dictate spending levels, while our military is struggling to juggle growing global demands. Still, the BCA extends its doomsday tentacles all the way to the year 2021.

Remember that Forrest Gump’s mom told him: “Stupid is as stupid does.”


Join the Association of the United States Army as we begin a campaign to stop sequestration, raise the budget caps and repeal the Budget Control Act.

We need the help of all our members to help save America’s national security before it is too late.

AUSA will soon reach out to our members with details on how to contact your local members of Congress and educate them on the dangers of continuing on our current path.

See you on the high ground.