February 10, 2012

Down Payment: Defense Guidance, 2013 Defense Budget and the Risks of Sequestration

By Travis Sharp

The Pentagon’s new strategic guidance and fiscal year 2013 budget request avoid major disruptions to current U.S. defense plans, but they make only a down payment on the defense budget cuts that may eventually be imposed through sequestration, argues Travis Sharp, CNAS Bacevich Fellow, in Down Payment: Defense Guidance, 2013 Defense Budget and the Risks of Sequestration.

Sharp argues that in a perverse twist, the guidance and budget may have made sequestration more likely because they did not propose major cuts to military force structure that might have spurred opposition from members of Congress. “It would be unfortunate if DOD’s reward for preparing responsible plans for an age of austerity was additional austerity imposed through sequestration, a truly flawed policy,” he writes.

Sharp concludes that Congress should pass bipartisan legislation to repeal sequestration as soon as possible, and President Obama should sign it. “The sudden and inflexible process for implementing cuts under sequestration will unnecessarily damage U.S. defense capabilities,” he argues, emphasizing that sequestration is an irresponsible way to reduce defense spending that will make it difficult for the U.S. military to pursue its longstanding and generally successful strategy of global engagement.

  • Travis Sharp

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