Speaking to about 300 Department of Defense employees at Charleston Air Force Base in South Carolina, Defense Department Secretary Chick Hagel told the assemblage that furloughs for about 800,000 DoD employees are likely to continue next year unless Congress halts the cuts, according to the Associated Press;
On the heels of the department’s first furlough day, and in three days of visits with members of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, Hagel played the unenviable role of messenger to a frustrated and fearful workforce coping with the inevitability of a spending squeeze at the end of more than a decade of constant and costly war.
The fiscal crunch also lays bare the politically unpopular, if perhaps necessary, need to bring runaway military costs in line with most of the rest of the American public that has struggled economically for years.
Like I said the other day, this plan for sequestration was engineered by the White House, the president told America during his debates with Mitt Romney that sequestration wasn’t going to happen, then Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta made no actual plans for sequestration during his tenure declaring that the plan would never be instituted. So when the deal that administration struck with Congress did actually happen because no one could spend the political capital to make a decision on how to cut the budget, they simply targeted personnel costs which are easier and impact fewer voters while each side blames the other.
Like Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey the other day when he blamed Congress for the Defense Department being unable to meet it’s national security goals. Or maybe it’s Dempsey’s fault because he’s just dutifully cutting personnel costs without doing the hard work finding actual waste and abuse that could be cut without injuring national security.