Pentagon sets cost-cutting over looming $52 billion budget shortfall
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The Pentagon has informed army, navy and air force commanders of cost-cutting measures in anticipation of a $52 billion non-war-fighting budget shortfall this year.
For the U.S. Army, Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno and Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh instructed commanders in a memo dated Jan. 16 to freeze hiring, terminate temporary employees and cut back on recreational programs and utilities as part of a 30 cut on its base operations budget.
For the Air Force, Gen. Larry O. Spencer, the service’s vice chief of staff, called for the same measures and a stop to flights at air shows and flyovers during special events or sports games in a memo issued on Jan. 14. Spencer also ordered holding off purchasing of new furniture, painting and remodeling. The Air Force may go to the extent of sending civilian employees to a 30-day unpaid leave if sequestration happens, said Spencer.
Sequestration refers to across-the-board cuts in Federal spending as provided by the Budget Control Act of 2011 It took effect on Jan. 2. For the Department of Defense, sequestration amounts to about $500 billion over the next 10 years.
The Navy is freezing hiring and cutting back on travel, conferences and other nonessential spending.
The cost-cutting measures aim to cover shortfalls of $2 billion for the Army, $1.8 billion for the Air Force and $4.6 billion for the Navy.
Meanwhile, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) has yet to reply to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey’s Jan. 14 letter raising concern of a military readiness crisis due to the unfolding budget conditions.