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Trigger or No Trigger, Threat Will Harm Military Planning Now

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  • December 6, 2011
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Whether or not Congress succeeds next year in reversing some or all of the $500 billion in spending cuts resulting from the supercommittee’s failure to complete a deficit reduction deal, the prospect that automatic cuts will be imposed is hurting the nation’s military now, argues a post in Time Magazine’s Battleland blog.

The reason is that the threat of dramatic cuts starting in January 2013 is creating doubt about how much defense spending will be available for that year.

“The fact that Congress may never technically pull the sequestration ‘trigger’ does nothing to lessen the chaos of uncertainty that now engulfs military planning and budgeting,” writes Mackenzie Eaglen, a research fellow for national security studies at the Heritage Foundation.

One likely consequence is that lawmakers will favor funding DOD through a year-long continuing resolution in FY 2013, a move that would “perpetuate the uncertainty and exacerbate the problems borne by those in uniform.”

The fallout of the budget sequester, Eaglen says, is that any program that cannot promise results within five years is vulnerable to cancellation. “The damage it inflicts upon the U.S. military will be real, swift and difficult to reverse,” she concludes.

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