Dempsey: Sequestration Impact Quickly Felt

NGAUS Washington Report

(Jan. 22, 2013) The across-the-board spending cuts that would result if sequestration kicks in March 1 will hollow out military forces faster than most Americans imagine, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said last week.

Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said during a recent news briefing that if sequestration happens, the American military “will be less prepared in months and unprepared in a year.”

During an interview last week on his return trip from NATO meetings in Brussels, the general said the cuts would quickly bring about a new type of hollow force.

The chairman stressed that deployed and deploying service members will be exempted from the effects of a sequester. The United States will not send any service member overseas without the best preparation, equipment and supplies possible, he said.

This actually covers a great many people. Service members in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Kuwait, aboard ships at sea, and flying and supporting deployed aircraft “will continue to have our unwavering support,” Dempsey said. “We have a moral obligation to make sure that they are ready and the next [unit] to deploy is ready.”

If sequestration is triggered March 1, six months into fiscal 2013, the department will have only six months to absorb those cuts, the chairman noted. So, if the deployed force is ready, and the next force to deploy is getting ready, “there’s not going to be any operations and training money left for the rest of the force,” he said.

The forces after the “next to deploy” will be the ones hurting, Dempsey added.

The kind of hollowness facing the military now is different from the past, Dempsey said.

“We’ve got the people. We’ve got the equipment that we need,” he explained. “But we won’t have the ability to train.”