Fiscal Crisis Will Begin to Play out in Coming Weeks, Hagel Says
In his first press conference as defense secretary held on the day sequestration initially went into effect, Chuck Hagel bluntly outlined the consequences for each of the services.
“The Navy will gradually stand down at least four wings. The first wing will stand down in April. Effective immediately, Air Force flying hours will be cut back. This will have a major impact on training and readiness. The Army will curtail training for all units except those deploying to Afghanistan, adversely impacting nearly 80 percent of Army operational units,” Hagel stated on Friday.
The spending cuts “will cause pain, particularly among our civilian workforce and their families,” he said, noting that officials intend to issue preliminary notifications later this month to thousands of civilian employees who will be furloughed.
The former, two-term senator from Nebraska explained that the impacts were a result of the $40-plus billion in across-board-spending cuts being imposed through the end of the fiscal year as well as the budget constraints caused by the need to operate under a continuing resolution.
In response to a reporter asking whether officials were concerned that the immediate impacts of the sequester may not be tangible and, as a result, dampen the public’s reaction to the spending cuts, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said the effects would not be missed.
“All this is going to be abundantly obvious, starting tomorrow and building through the year. And I think people when they — those who do not appreciate how serious this is, as the year goes on, it will be unmistakable,” Carter said.
“This is not subtle. This is an abrupt, serious curbing of activity in each and every one of our key categories of activity in the Department of Defense,” he added.
For further coverage of the impacts on each of the services, read the story from Stars and Stripes.