Impact of potential budget cuts on Fort Gordon unclear

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“Sequestration” is the buzzword in the Pentagon these days, and it applies to the deep cuts in America’s defense budget that could start Jan. 2.

Military leaders, defense contractors and lawmakers are attaching words such as “devastating” and “end-of-Earth scenario” to the automatic cuts, which will trim $50 billion each year for 10 years from the Department of Defense’s budget. The requested budget is $525.4 billion for fiscal year 2013, but $50 billion would be “sequestered” by the Treasury as the difference between the cap set in the Budget Control Act of 2011 and what is originally appropriated by Congress.

But for all the talk there’s still a level of uncertainty about how far the budget ax will fall in Washington and Fort Gordon.

If the cuts go through, “it will be catastrophic for the military, everyone expects that,” said Thom Tuckey, the executive director of CSRA Alliance for Fort Gordon. But determining what will happen at the installation level is “near impossible right now.”

Fort Gordon garrison command echoed that opinion through spokesman Buz Yarnell, saying the exact impact remains unclear.

Some indication of what the future holds can be found by looking at past reductions in American forces, which typically follow after every major war.

“During wartime you spend whatever it takes to win,” said Hubert van Tuyll, a professor of history at Augusta State University. “But finances inevitably dictate that military spending will go down.”

The Army was already planning cuts over the next five years that would reduce 80,000 active-duty soldiers from its force. If the Budget Control Act of 2011 goes into effect, it could force cutting an extra 100,000 soldiers, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno said May 17 at a Senate Caucus breakfast.

The additional cuts would affect both active duty and reserves and reduce the number of active-duty soldiers to between 400,000 and 425,000. At the breakfast, Odierno said sequestration represents a significant impact on modernization and “a template for hollowing out the force.”

Aside from defense concerns, experts fear the reductions could harm a tenuous economic recovery. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said that partisan bickering between Democrats and Republicans could keep a compromise from emerging before the 2013 fiscal year begins.

“Not only must we avoid sequestration – in my judgment we will – but we must do it in time to avoid a severe weakening to this economy. That’s the greater challenge that we face,” Levin said.

In a statement to The Augusta Chronicle, U.S. Rep. John Barrow, a Democrat whose district includes Augusta, said the government cannot keep writing checks it can’t cash. “But sequestration isn’t the answer. It’s a blunt instrument that treats vital assets like Fort Gordon just the same as programs we don’t need and can’t afford,” he wrote.

Fort Gordon has about 10,000 soldiers and students on post. Including the other service branches and part-time military personnel boosts that number up to about 14,000 service members. Still, the CSRA Alliance for Fort Gordon places Fort Gordon’s annual economic impact on the area at about $2 billion annually.

If sequestration forces a smaller Army, fewer students will come through Fort Gordon for communications training.

It could also delay several multi-million dollar construction projects, such as new barracks for students.

But Fort Gordon also has several shields against sequestration, namely the protection of communication and intelligence networks that are gaining high priority at the Pentagon, said Tuckey. The National Security Agency cut the ribbon in February on its $270 million facility at Fort Gordon.

Exactly how those factors will play out remains unclear.

“Nobody knows what’s going to happen with sequestration. That’s the party line from everybody,” Tuckey said.

Information from Stars and Stripes, Reuters and Bloomberg News was used in this report.

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robaroo
707
Points
robaroo 06/18/12 - 06:46 am
6
0
Who Is Serious About Balancing the Budget?

This is where we find out if the politicians are serious about balancing the budget or just trying to score political points. Living within a budget hurts when the country has become used to spending like there is no tomorrow.

Since none of the politicians want cuts to their special interests, automatic cuts are the only way.

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 06/18/12 - 08:37 am
4
3
Budget Cuts...

Everytime a democrat is in office it seems they want to cut the military. I am not so sure that due to the times we live in with half of the world hating us that it is the right time to cut our military. I would not even feel safe here without a strong military to protect us. However, I do feel we need to be out of the middle east and concentrate on our own border protection. Why not cut some of those high paying jobs up in Washington if you really want to save some serious money? This country waste so much money on frivolous things, lavish trips that cost huge amounts of money for the president and congressmen and senators, if we are really that broke why are they taking all these lavish vacations? They are trying to convince us the country is broke yet they spend like there is no tomorrow! I say cut back on those perks and save billions. There are many less important jobs than defense jobs that could be cut. And they want to cut the military but everytime you turn around some jobs are being created to give to people they owe favors to. They are all such hypocrits.......... It is going to affect Ft Gordon, the effects are already being seen, some people have already been told that next year their jobs will be gone, I am not sure how many but those jobs are going. Just imagine if you stopped the free handouts how many billions or trillions this country would save! Create jobs, put people to work and stop the freebies but leave our countries military alone the last thing we need right now is a weak military.

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 06/18/12 - 11:53 am
3
2
a modernized military should

a modernized military should mean fewer soldiers are needed as machine power replaces manpower on the battle field. this practice has been seen in the private sector and should be reflected in the military. unless you want to consider the military a "jobs program".

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 06/18/12 - 12:03 pm
4
1
2011 Military spending for

2011 Military spending for China, Russia, United Kingdom, France, Japan, Saudi Arabia, India, Germany, Brazil, Italy, South Korea, Australia, Canada, and Turkey COMBINED= $711.1 trillion dollars.

2011 Military spending for the US= $711 trillion dollars.

When you add US military expenditures that are not included in the Defense budget (ie. SRS is under DoE, not DoD), real US expenditures are really somewhere between $1.0 trillion and $1.4 trillion. 2011 Federal revenue was $2.567 trillion (including SS taxes). We can't afford to spend 39%-55% of revenue on defense. If you take out the SS taxes, defense spending takes up to 86% of revenue. We have to cut defense spending or raise revevue, preferably both, or there will be no money to run any other aspect of government. Grover Norquist has gotten his wish. Government is the size so it can be drowned in the bathtub. The reality is, the government has to have funds to run or the country will cease to exist.

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 06/18/12 - 12:17 pm
1
2
i think theres a typo(s) in

i think theres a typo(s) in your post techfan

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 06/18/12 - 01:03 pm
4
1
Probably. I'm not a tipest.

Probably. I'm not a tipest. The numbers are corrct.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures#...

Budget breakdown for 2012

Defense-related expenditure

2012 Budget request & Mandatory spending]
DOD spending
$707.5 billion
Base budget + "Overseas Contingency Operations"
FBI counter-terrorism
$2.7 billion
At least one-third FBI budget.
International Affairs
$5.6–$63.0 billion
At minimum, foreign arms sales. At most, entire State budget
Energy Department, defense-related
$21.8 billion
Veterans Affairs
$70.0 billion
Homeland Security
$46.9 billion
NASA, satellites
$3.5–$8.7 billion
Between 20% and 50% of NASA's total budget
Veterans pensions
$54.6 billion
Other defense-related mandatory spending
$8.2 billion
Interest on debt incurred in past wars
$109.1–$431.5 billion
Between 23% and 91% of total interest
Total Spending
$1.030–$1.415

http://www.usgovernmentrevenue.com/year_revenue_2011USbn_11bs1n#usgs302

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 06/18/12 - 01:08 pm
0
2
I don't like to use Wiki, but

I don't like to use Wiki, but the numbers are from SIPRI. Their site required too much downloading PDF or excel.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 06/18/12 - 03:32 pm
2
0
The trolls are out. A thumbs

The trolls are out. A thumbs down for as innocuous post as the last one? Maybe the AC can figure out a way to block someone from just going down the line and hitting thumbs down on every post someone makes. I got two just for posting that the Masters was on CBS, not NBC. I guess jerks will be jerks.

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 06/18/12 - 03:49 pm
2
0
Wasteful spending

Our government is notorious for wasteful spending always has been and not just one party, but they don't want to cut it from the right places. They are continuously making ignorant decisions at our expense, then they think we are to dumb to see it or better yet, understand it. They are not about to give up thier lavish lifestyles but they expect others to have to give up what little bit they work for. I am not saying that some parts of the military doesn't need to be revamped what I am saying is that in this day and time we cannot afford to have a military so small that it leaves this country vulnerable. You can thumbs down that all you want! @Techfan, of course they have funds to run the country and war is profitable.....they are not over there for nothing, if our government was not getting something from it they would not be there believe that. @omnomnom the military is a jobs program in the sense that it teaches these soldiers a trade while serving their country. And if it wasn't that way you would have an even bigger number of people out there uneducated and on assistance. But hey, that is what the government wants. They are trying their best to dumb down America and from the looks of things they are doing a pretty good job of it.

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