Reading the report, the fine print says sequestration is unlikely to occur.
Chalres S. Clark
Government Executive, 9 January 2013
Unless Congress achieves a deal to head off the revised schedule for across-the-board spending cuts, the Defense Department in March will be forced to begin rotating monthly furloughs of all 791,000 of its civilian employees, a prominent budget analyst said on Wednesday.
“This would be a contracting nightmare for DoD because civilian contracting officers would be furloughed for a month,” Todd Harrison, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told reporters.
Using “back of the envelope” calculations interpreting the new American Taxpayer Relief Act, he said the roughly 8.8 percent cut that would kick in under the sequestration penalties would have “a real impact” on the $70 billion a year spent on the civilian workforce — the equivalent of a 15 percent cut over the remaining seven months of the fiscal year.
“There’s no way to avoid it unless Congress changes the law,” Harrison said in releasing a new paper on the impact of the so-called fiscal cliff that projects revised cuts aimed at the Pentagon of about $48 billion in fiscal 2013. “Not all the furloughs would happen at the same time,” he said, but planners should decide soon who would be furloughed in what month and make it public “to help inform public debate so we could make a good decision as a nation on what we are going to do.”
Phi Beta Iota: The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) is headed up by Andrew F. Krepinevich, who generally offers intelligence with integrity about defense. The report in question is mealy mouthed and does not offer, as Robert Steele does in his exact commentary, specific do-able alternatives that begin with cutting the 41% documented waste in defense weapons acquisition, and other measures, none of which demand cutting people or district by district revenue. The savings that can be achieved simply drawing down our presence overseas — both in contingencies and in fixed based long overdue for closuere — is considerable. The Government Executive article is mixing non-Pentagon and Pentagon commentary in a confusing manner, but one thing is clear: no one in the Pentagon is being intelligent or demonstrating integrity with respect to budget cuts that are inevitable. What they SHOULD be doing is getting ready to help the next Secretary of Defense BOTH cut 30% over 2-4 years AND build a 450-ship Navy, a long-haul Air Force, and an Air Liftable Army.