Yesterday I wrote critically of the excessive hyperbole surrounding the impact of the sequester on government spending. Yesterday I was reminded that the cuts weren’t going to be applied equally across the board to government but would instead be concentrated in the areas of discretionary and military spending. When it comes to the military, the sequester is going to be more like 8 percent rather than, as I said, about 2 percent.

Stratfor is the short name for Stratfor Global Intelligence, which has been called “the shadow CIA” by Barron’s newspaper. I am on their mailing list and received yesterday their assessment of what the sequester will do to the military. Before I quote some elements of interest, please remember that this outfit is profoundly militaristic in its outlook. I am not.

Wrote Stratfor:

Sequestration, the automatic reductions scheduled to take effect March 1, will affect the U.S. military’s ability to project force around the world. The current continuing resolution that Congress is using to fund the entire government until March 27 has already affected U.S. forces. The longer these funding cuts continue, the more degradation the U.S. military will incur, with longer-lasting effects.

Their assumption, as you can see, is that US projection of force around the world is a good thing. It’s the unquestioned underlying assumption to their worldview. Anything that opposes that worldview is wrong. It’s neat and tidy.

From their analysis,

When the sequester takes effect, it will immediately reduce military by 8 percent, with more than $500 billion in cuts to over 10 years divided equally among the military branches.

The continuing resolution is already affecting the military since it has locked the military budget into 2011 levels and prevented spending increases or reallocations among various budgets. On March 27, Congress will have to have a new budget in place, extend the continuing resolution or force a government shutdown; the most likely decision will be to maintain the continuing resolution.

Translation: the continuing resolution under which the government is operating (which expires March 27th) will be renewed, and the cuts (sequester) will remain in place. So the military services will just have to face reality: they won’t have as much money as they thought they would, or should.

Complains Stratfor:

It is not the overall amount of the reductions that is damaging, necessarily; it is the way in which the cuts will be implemented. The across-the-board cuts required by the sequestration coupled with the limits set by the continuing resolution are constraining budget planners’ options in how to absorb the reductions and thus are damaging all the military branches, programs, training, deployments and procurement.

The suffering will at least be equal. But the cuts will inhibit many of the military programs, especially over time:

The medium- to long-term effects can be even more serious. Any given military platform, from a Stryker armored vehicle to an aircraft carrier, requires a lot of money in order to be ready for use at any time at its intended level of performance. These platforms require consistent use to maintain a certain readiness level because machines cannot sit idle for months to years and then operate effectively, if at all, especially if called on for immediate action. Moreover, the people who operate this equipment need to maintain their working knowledge and operational skill through continued use. This use causes wear and tear on the platform and requires consistent maintenance. All of this is necessary just to maintain the status quo. In the end, there must be a balance between a platform’s readiness level and the amount of funding required for operations and maintenance, but if the money is no longer available there is no choice but to reduce readiness.

Readiness for what, pray tell? The US military’s budget exceeds that of all the military budgets of the rest of the world. Who is our enemy? What victories have our military given us recently? Afghanistan? Iraq? Syria? Why do we still have forces in Germany, Japan, South Korea? Isn’t WWII over?

Stratfor doesn’t say. What it does say is that those cuts will hurt the US’ “projection” of force:

The budget cuts are already having preliminary effects, and the longer the cuts continue, the greater the potential for degradation of the U.S. military’s force projection capabilities.

As one who sees our military as a tool being used by insiders to implement their one world government, I’m hard-pressed to see how this is bad news.

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