U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno shocked many Tuesday when he stated that just two Army brigades were currently combat-ready as a result of the financial toll taken by sequestration and other cuts in military spending, but a retired U.S. Air Force general says severe problems can be seen throughout all service branches.
“The Air Force, at one time, grounded a third of all their squadrons because of the cost savings driven by sequestration. That means their readiness is declining in almost dramatic terms,” said retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Tom McInerney, who served as both assistant vice chief of staff and commander in chief of U.S. Air Forces Europe during his time in uniform.
“The Navy is cutting down their steaming hours or flying hours and the Marine Corps the same thing,” he told WND. “They’re all about a third in decreased readiness, which permeates the whole force and you atrophy gradually. Without a doubt, the sequestration has had a huge impact, negative impact, on U.S. military readiness.”
Sequestration was the default result of the 2011 Budget Control Act that was passed to resolve that summer’s debt-ceiling showdown. Lawmakers were supposed to come up with areas to trim spending but failed to reach any consensus. As a result, sequestration kicked in, with President Obama and Democrats demanding half of the cuts come from military spending in exchange for some trimming in entitlement spending. The military’s sequestration cuts followed closely on the heels of another major drop in funding. The combination of actual cuts and reductions in planned spending increases totals roughly $1 trillion over 10 years.
The Defense Department, like all government agencies, have been known for extravagant spending at times, but McInerney said the rules of sequestration prevent officials from prioritizing the spending reductions, so critical programs are suffering.
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