The residents of the Hampton Roads area of southeastern Virginia, with its large military presence, are on edge: sequestration is going into effect.
Sequestration is the term for the $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts the federal government must make by September, including $42.7 billion in Defense Department cuts.
According to the above video report from WHRO correspondent Cathy Lewis, which aired March 28 on the PBS NewsHour, the Navy had to cancel a six-month deployment of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman in order to reach its spending reduction targets, giving the 5,000 sailors just a few days’ notice.
“If you’re a single sailor and you were expecting to deploy and that was stopped at the last minute, if you own a car, you have put it in storage or perhaps you have sold it. You have gotten out of an apartment or a home you may share with a few other people. You have put your household goods in storage. You have disconnected from the world,” retired Adm. Craig Quigley of the Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance told Lewis.
The government also is expected to make cuts through temporary unpaid leave, or furlough days, for some civilian employees. Trying to ease the blow, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recently announced that civilian Pentagon employees would be furloughed for 14 days, rather than 22 days as originally planned, and that furloughs would be delayed until June.
Before the sequestration deadline passed, and Congress was still struggling to make a budget deal to avoid the mandatory cuts, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told Judy Woodruff Feb. 20 on the NewsHour that in addition to furloughs, sequestration meant cutting back on military training for conflicts other than Afghanistan.
“By the end of the year … two-third of our Army units, active-duty Army units and all of our reserve units will not be ready to fight other wars,” he warned.
We’ll publish a selection of stories here on the Rundown.
- Read more about sequestration cuts in this Washington Post report.
- The Council on Foreign Relations describes how the budget got to where it is today in this Debt, Deficits and the Defense Budget backgrounder.
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