This week, the Pentagon informed 800,000 civilian employees worldwide they would be forced to take unpaid leave under the sequester, leaving a gaping hole in our defense personnel and systems. There has been no shortage of news stories warning about how the devastating cuts will undermine our military readiness. As described in the Hill:
“Defense officials have warned lawmakers that sequestration will devastate the military and lead to a hollow force, but the civilian furloughs will be one of the first major impacts felt by the across-the-board cuts.”
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta put things into perspective:
“There is no mistaking that the rigid nature of the cuts forced upon this department, and their scale, will result in a serious erosion of readiness across the force.”
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno told reporters:
“It is our responsibility to ensure that we never send soldiers into harm’s way that are not trained, equipped, well-led and ready for any contingency, to include war. If we have to reduce the amount of training we give our pilots, they will go in with a hell of a lot less capability. That means mistakes will be made. That means we’ll have accidents. That means we’ll be more likely to be shot down by enemy fire.”
Sounds scary enough to us.
But that’s not all. As the White House warned, the sequester will be harmful to job creation in our country. Defense Comptroller Robert F. Hale described the impact on the private sector as “very substantial” to the Washington Post because of reductions in contract spending.
So while Congress should be creating jobs and providing a stable environment for our economy, Republicans are choosing to let these devastating cuts happen. Why haven’t Republicans woken up yet? We’d like to remind the GOP, again, there is a solution to stop these cuts – the balanced alternatives put forward by House Democrats.