United States: the army, the first victim of austerity | Le Pointe

The automatic cuts that went into effect Friday night in the United States , affecting mainly the Department of Defense, forcing him to trim arbitrarily to compromise the security of the country by its leaders. These cuts, on a scale of $ 46 billion on 85 billion for the entire amputees federal government will not affect men in uniform, including pay and social benefits are protected.

But they will severely affect their training, maintenance of equipment and, most importantly, will lead from April to partial unemployment for some 800,000 civilian employees at the Pentagon. These lose the equivalent of 20% of their salary between April and September if no agreement is reached by then between the White House and Congress. These cuts represent about 8% of some 614 billion for the Pentagon planned for fiscal year 2013, which runs from October 2012 to September 2013.

200,000 flight hours in less

The budget has still not been approved, it operates like other departments on a timely Financing Act, which expires on March 27 and prevents it from breaking down the costs as it sees fit. And as some budget items are protected amputations – as military pay or expenses related to the Afghan conflict – cuts focus on what is possible.

The Navy plans thus reducing the number of days at sea for its vessels from 30 to 35% and cancel maintenance thirty of 285 ships. The deployment of an aircraft carrier in the Gulf has already been delayed several months. The Army will “dramatically” reduce entrainment of 80% of its combat units, according to its chief, General Ray Odierno. As for the Air Force, there are 200 000 flight hours that go up in smoke.

“Trust in the president” (Chuck Hagel)

“If you stop exercising when you are a pilot, then you lose your qualification and you can not fly, simply because no longer allows you to be safe. Then you must take a long process of requalification before be operational again, “said Friday the Assistant Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. For the new Pentagon chief, Chuck Hagel, things are “clear”, “uncertainty threatens our ability to effectively perform all of our missions.”

But when his predecessor Leon Panetta did not hesitate to compare the automatic cuts to a “castration budget” Pentagon Chuck Hagel was less alarmist. “I have confidence in the President and the Congress they will find a consensus to avoid immense damage” to the defense, he said Friday two days after taking office. For if the automatic cuts begin Friday, their effects will be felt that “gradually,” said Gordon Adams, a professor at American University.

The cuts will “create the mess but I would not say it’s a disaster. It is not the magnitude of cuts problematic, but their brutality and lack of flexibility,” believes his side Todd Harrison, an expert at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. For those who worry about having “an army weaker,” Lawrence Korb, an assistant professor at Georgetown University, said that “even with the automatic reduction of expenses, (…) you can work without having an impact on our ability to be ready to respond to the threats we face. ”

via United States: the army, the first victim of austerity | Le Pointe.