The Sequester and its Effect on the Army Guard
Yesterday, Mary Catherine Ott ran down some of the cuts that could come to the Air Force and its components if the sequester goes into effect March 1. The National Guard Bureau has been hitting this theme all week with stories on its website and even a special "Sequestration: Across-the-Board Cuts Could Threaten National Security."
With the help of Annie Lively, the NGAUS senior legislative affairs manager for Army programs, I compiled a few points and documents that can shed some light on the potential losses faced by the Guard (particularly the Army Guard) in the coming weeks IF sequestration happens. We've already mentioned a few potential losses before.
An NGB/Defense Department story laid out a few of the major cuts that would affect the Guard. Military technicians, which form the full-time backbone of the Guard, would be furloughed. Despite the fact that most technicians serve in full-time positions and wear uniforms just like active component personnel, they would be receiving what amounts to a 20 percent paycut for a period of several months (April to September).
Other potential cuts mentioned in the the story:
-- Decreased equipment and personnel readiness as the 2013 flood, wildfire and hurricane seasons begin. One example: Army leaders have indicated equipment redeployed to the states from the warfight will be returned without depot-level repairs.
-- An almost 80 percent reduction in planned National Guard rotary-wing flying support to Customs and Border Protection for Southwest border security.
-- A halt in flying training hours -- and a corresponding steep decline in readiness -- in the Air National Guard in the next few weeks to sustain essential missions such as aerospace control alert.
-- Reduced maintenance of Army National Guard wheeled and tracked vehicles.
-- Overall decrease in aviation readiness for domestic emergencies.
-- Cancellation of 115,000 medical or dental exams that could render 39 percent of the Army National Guard medically unable to deploy over the coming months.
The cuts to medical and dental checks will be a huge hit to the Army Guard, and could send readiness levels back to the "bad old days" pre-9/11, when many soldiers were medically and dentally unfit for deployment. The sequester could, in essence, kick the Army Guard back into the role of a strategic reserve.
A leaked Army slideshow detailing state-by-state cuts has also been making the media rounds this week. While the data in that document are too vast to itemize here, the Army Guard gets hit hard in almost every state. Many states will see their biggest cut to military spending come in the form of cuts to the National Guard.