Sequester, sequester, sequester. We’ve heard a lot about this automatic cut in spending, and we’ve been assured it’s not going to kick in, because the Dems and the GOP are going to agree to something better, and the Super Committee is going to swoop in and save the day, dontcha know.
Like your friend’s annoying little sister, though, it keeps popping up no matter what they do to stave it off.
So, military muckety-mucks have to prepare for their share of cuts, which is, oh . . . about half. Here’s the latest: US Navy: Sequester Means Strike Groups Could Stay Home.
I happen to have a handy-dandy little military-to-civilian translator thingy here with me right now, also known as my husband. He’s going to help me summarize and translate from Milspeak to English.
First, you might not know what a ‘strike group’ is. I’m not sure how much of this stuff is common knowledge. It is a group of five or six boats: one carrier and the ships that support it. Each boat has its own captain, but they all take orders from the strike group’s admiral, who in turn looks to ‘fleet command’ for his orders.
The important take-aways from the article:
1) Travel will be severely limited and non-essential conferences will be cancelled. Generally, “travel” in the military means leaving your duty station on temporary orders for training purposes. This expense could probably be cut quite a bit. (There’s not much a sailor likes more than a boondoggle.) Hopefully, mission-essential training and permanent changes of duty station (PCS) won’t be hampered.
2) Information technology support is being cut. Will the budgets for hardware and software also be cut? If yes, maybe it’ll work out. Otherwise, yikes. (In my experience the computer system is always a mess because they are always “upgrading” because if the command doesn’t spend it this year they won’t get it next year.)
3) Bases must plan to cancel repair and modernization of nearly all piers, runways and buildings through September. One can only guess about the current condition of most piers, runways, and buildings. They likely run the gamut.
4) Depot-level maintenance on about 250 aircraft scheduled between April and September could be cancelled. Even my handy translator had to look this one up. The gist: if a squadron can’t do the repair itself, then it must be done by a military or commercial “depot,” but not so much if sequestration. Maybe we’ll just get along okay with fewer planes, especially since #5:
5) Overhauls to about 30 of the fleet’s 187 surface ships will be cancelled. Use of the phrase “surface ships” is interesting. The Navy currently has a total of 288 deployable ships, so . . . the other 101 must be subs and tankers and stuff? Thirty is a pretty big chunk of 187.
6) Nearly 10 percent of the government shipyard workforce — more than 3,000 employees — will be reduced. Makes sense. If you haven’t got money to repair your stuff anymore, there’s no point in keeping all those repairmen around.
I can’t help but wonder if there aren’t other, less essential areas ripe for streamlining though . . . like the Pentagon. It has approximately 23,000 employees. A 10% cut there would account for the bulk of layoffs needed.
Reckon it pays off when one’s job is to plan for the expenditure of federal resources. It’s only natural to include oneself as a crucial component.