Sequester: The military girds for a blow

Washington's latest game of financial chicken threatens to trigger huge cuts for the Pentagon. Here are the top 10 states on the hit list.

By Bruce Kennedy Feb 25, 2013 9:27AM

Image: The Pentagon © Digital Vision., Photodisc, Getty ImagesAre you ready for the sequester? This latest post-fiscal cliff, political game of chicken over the federal budget could go into effect on March 1, unless some sort of congressional compromise is reached.

As Caitlin Dickson at the Daily Beast puts it, the sequester "is the trade-off for the tax hikes the cliff deal avoided: a collection of across-the-board budget cuts adding up to about $1.2 trillion dollars over 10 years. It’s a manufactured political crisis, basically, and everyone shares some blame for it."

If the sequester happens -- and that's still a pretty large "if" -- about half of those cuts will come from the U.S. military. The Pentagon could find its budget slashed by $500 billion, which would not only have direct and a relatively immediate impact on the war in Afghanistan but also on defense industry contractors and, of course, jobs directly and indirectly linked to the Department of Defense.

"Cuts to spending for the acquisition of military equipment alone would lead the loss of over 1,000,000 private sector jobs," warns the U.S. House Armed Services Committee website. "These cuts could push unemployment back up to 9%."

The website adds that more than 350,000 of the Pentagon's active-duty military and civilian personnel could also find themselves out of work.

The U.S. Army recently released a document forecasting how cuts to its branch alone would affect more than 302,000 jobs across the nation -- with an economic impact of $15.35 billion.

The Washington Business Journal went through the Army's data and tallied up what each state potentially stands to lose in terms of economic impact and job cuts. Here's the top 10 list:

Alabama -- Economic loss: $1.9 billion, jobs affected: 25,177.

Arizona -- Economic loss: $262 million, jobs affected: 5,063.

California -- Economic loss: $615 million, jobs affected: 11,432.

Georgia  -- Economic loss: $931 million, jobs affected: 17,163.

Hawaii -- Economic loss: $287 million, jobs affected: 8,499.

Kentucky -- Economic loss: $606 million, jobs affected: 15,016.

Maryland -- Economic loss: $527 million, jobs affected: 23,243.

Texas -- Economic loss: $2.4 billion, jobs affected: 34,734.

Virginia -- Economic loss: $1 billion, jobs affected: 25,360.

Washington -- Economic loss: $461 million, jobs affected: 11,047.

The Army says it's preparing for any near-future budget reductions by cutting its contracted workforce, using attrition to lower the number of temporary and short-term employees, implementing a hiring freeze, "diverting" funds for facility restoration and modernization, and by reducing base operation support levels.

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Feb 25, 2013 2:54PM
Why cut our military spending, when we keep funding other governments?   It is ridiculous to me to cut the US military while we give money to foreign country every day without ever hoping to be repaid?   We borrow from China and then turn around and "Give" the money to other countries.  We need to quit paying other people to cover our feeling guilty because they live in poverty regions, or they need to hype up their military to protect them from their neighbors.   We need to worry about America, forget the rest of the world.  If US businesses want to do business with other countries, let them use their money, no more govt subsidies to buy abroad!   Build things in America, Buy American and live like Americans!   If we quit giving away money to help other countries (that don't want out help)  we could pay off our own debts in record time!
Feb 25, 2013 1:32PM

I agree with cutting the defense budget, there are way to do it that does not affect the US employment picture.  This would be to curtail our troop presence outside the US, including the middle east.  Both parties have given in when it comes to the "holy cow".  Yes I am a veteran, I enlisted and served in Viet Nam.  When you send the military in it is to WIN, not be a police action or to stay for 10 years.


Feb 25, 2013 2:22PM

Before there are big cuts to the military, the White House must first set the example in cutting cost within their area, to include benefits.  The American people see a very none productive  elected group in Washington DC, that are wasting funds and at the expense of the American citizens.  Too many want to be chiefs and no leader to be a real chief to lead. I see a pack of wild dogs fighting among their selves and do not know what they are fighting about.  No goals and no guide lines to follow.  Go figure!

Feb 25, 2013 2:46PM
Why is it the first 2 things that the government ALWAYS targets when they decide to "cut spending" is our children's education and our defense budget???? The first thing they should cut is lining their own pockets with pay raises and anything that has to do with the socialistic/dictatorship direction that our country is heading!
Feb 25, 2013 9:38AM
Sorry, we need to reduce Military spending.   We cannot afford what we are currently spending.

We need to slash spending 1.2 trillion. this year, not over 10 years.  We need to cut spending 10 trillion over 10 years.  Obama and his minions refuse to cut any spending.  They want bankruptcy...
Feb 25, 2013 2:44PM
don't get it. we want to make jobs to reduce unemployment, so we down size the military. the sector that keeps us free. then we dump them on the private sector to look for jobs.  creating  a surplus of workers which will stall any wage increases and create further strain on unemployment, food stamps, all of the social services. start your cuts in foreign aid. collect monies or services for serviceprovided to other countries . tax excessive luxeries. there has got to be answers other than threating the livlihood of the average joe working or retired. we all know what rolls down hill and thats whats going on here. and in a few years we get to spend more money to rehire and train people to replace the ones we axed. its the circle of waste. i'm sure there are a lot of folks that could have benefited from the money spent on the gift bags at the oscars. if you earn it you deserve it ,but at what point do you say what the hell is going on here.
Feb 25, 2013 3:23PM
The sequestration will cause many of us to loose 20% of our paycheck for 11 paydays.  I don't know about you, but I don't make that much.  This is really going to hurt.  I bet congress doesn't have to give up 20% of their pay.
Feb 25, 2013 2:04PM
Military officials are the darwin award winners and they did this to themselves. Six different types of MRAP plus maintenance contracts for each variant. This is just one of a thousand incidents of fraud waste and abuse in military spending. How about the fact that the services all have different supply chains to handle the exact same parts for vehicles and equipment. The savings in streamlining that alone would save billions a year. Twenty contracting orgainaztions on one installation to provide the same services, and the ultimate V-8 style forehead slap is the fact that the military trains police, dental techs, admin folks, technichians, and 50 to 100 more military occupational specialties at a cost of $30K to $100K each and then pays a cilivial contractor to do the same jobe at 10 times the cost of a military members paycheck in some cases.  Now, instead of changing this ridiculuosly wasteful practice the military will cut military members benefits instead of ceasing the construction of one or two of the new joint strike fighter that's over budget and still doesnt work. Want to streamline this program just steal the plans for the same fighter from China like they stole it from us. The kicker is that there version actually works. just sayin.
Feb 25, 2013 3:17PM

We need to trim the fat from ALL goverment projects. funding for studies that are not health related. there are 11 to 20 million illegal immigrants living in the US. Jobs are getting out sourced to other countries. 250,000 soldiers are getting chaptered out of the Army, Where are they going to work? Buisnesses are cutting hours so they don't have to pay for health care. Banks getting bailouts from the goverment. Unemployement at an all time high...







Feb 25, 2013 2:57PM
Good Now follow through. Start at the top and lets cut some fat, redundancy, fraud, waste, and abuse.
Feb 25, 2013 2:22PM
A good place to start is removing all our war ship's from the ports of Norfolk, who ever heard of Breaching military protocol by placing these warships in for routine service all at the same time. Not since Pearl Harbor has this breach of protocol BY DIRECT ORDER OF THE PRESIDENT. Is this an open invite for another muslim terrorist attack. Thank You BO. As a Naval veteran, during Vietnam our mission was to clean out the enemy not play Politics as standard practice in the present conflict. This is the main reason our troops are being masicured by the people we are training. We could use our troops to protect our children in the schools in our own country. If constant cuts in military are constantly being reduced, Where are we being able up to-date in technology and advancements  in warfare. The actions being taken by the president are placing this country are placing our lives in grave danger for more invasive attacks upon our lands. Just another way of disarming this country of it's military forces, and push for removal of so called assault weapons, violating the second amendment so a tyrant government can take over the people of this country without a defiant defense of our rights by the people and for the people.
Feb 25, 2013 2:40PM
I guess we will have to levy an export tax on all the oil us Texans send everywhere.
Feb 25, 2013 2:44PM
The military shouldn't be running interference for Obama.
Feb 25, 2013 5:14PM
Utah's six-term senator Hatch (R) has always voted for spending increases.  Budget cuts?  You won't see Hatch recommending budget cuts that impact him or his corporate campaign contributors.
Feb 25, 2013 3:53PM
MISSISSIPPI:  Coastally, several branches of the military employ thousands, probably close to 10,000 civilians.  There's really nothing else holding up the area's economy but casinos, and they do little to re-invest.  The economy from Slidell, Louisiana, west to Alabama (I-10 corridor) will belly flop.  The trickle-up, -down, -sideways effects are just as bad the 10 mentioned.
Feb 25, 2013 3:54PM
i dated a woman who had an uncle that had two houses in san diego, he was a defense contractor. one was 1.5 million and the other was 2.5 million. that was in 1997. why not cut the fat in the defense, instead of talking about how cutting budget will cost jobs?
Feb 25, 2013 4:29PM
Military cuts could not have come at a worse time.  The sequester is nothing compared to our country running out of money come April 1st.  Look for the dollar to crash and a one month government shutdown.
Feb 25, 2013 5:56PM

What the heck! Congress has been weel aware of the sequesteration since 2011 and has done nothing  but wrangle over partisan politics. Then a week before the hammer falls - they take off. I thought that our representatives first job was to take care of business and represent all of us- Democrats and Repubilcans. It is clear that their first loyalty is to their respective parties. There is going to be a lot of fallout - loss of jobs is number one, and it will spiral downward from there. Those of us that are saving for retirement are going to get wacked as well as those that are retired. Our education and transportation systems in jepeopardy. What the heck we are all going to get burned except our

elected representatives who will line their pockets and get the kind of benefits we all dream about, and when a crises arises they'll just go on vacation.


Feb 25, 2013 6:35PM

There s enough waste in the military to easily avoid readiness, training and fighting capacity reductions.. Unneeded bases, unwanted weapons, unused office space, let attrition reduce civilian employment, take the money from foreign despots and radicals.

The sleazy attempt to scare everyone for political gain is a disgrace. And for Gods sakes, quit referring to CUTS. Theyre arent any, omly slowing the rate of increase.

Anything that has to be reduced, jobs or services, is proff they werent necessary. Education programs also. Efucation has become so bloated with administrators instead of teachers, its a disgrace..

Feb 25, 2013 5:38PM
How much of a drain on the budget is the retirement pay of colonels on up to generals--the ones who doubledip the most?  Maybe I should include the level of 'major', too?.  What percentage of these guys (and a very few gals) end up as lobbyists for oil companies and nuclear engineering firms?  I'm including equivalent levels in the Navy and Air Force?
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