The United States of America is 16 trillion dollars in debt. In 2011 the early talks of sequestration were coming into play with little emphasis on just how important of a role it would play and what the impact would be. Well it is here now, it is in effect, and it is already showing its ugly head and affecting the military side of the house to include civilian government employers. The government has to make budget cuts to pay down its debt, but doing so by cutting the military side of the house which only accounts for 18% of the United States budget (Inhofe) seriously needs to be scrutinized, basic pay and tuition assistance for military members is not the right choice.
Sequestration is defined as a process that automatically cuts the federal budget across most departments and agencies. What this means is that due to our trillions of dollars of debt, funds are needed to be cut from the Department of Defense in order for us to climb our way out of this mess. Congress had been charged with providing an effective operating budget that would alleviate the global debt and bring out nation out of its recession and back into a nation of prosperity. This hasn’t happened yet, what has happened repeatedly is the old budget plan gets extended by a few months time and time again. Until now, the President has said $85 Billion dollars will be cut from the Department of Defense, and that means cuts across the military no longer have the possibility of “might” happening, rather they “WILL” happen!
Being in the military this has the potential of affecting our pay and living conditions. Just because we stop getting paid, that does not mean we stop paying our bills, loans, or any other debts that we have. Another luxury that we do not have is walking out on our job. We sign a contract, some of us for 4 years, some of us for 6 years at a time and in that contract it states we are on call 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. But the military is not the only working entity being affected by the sequester, government contractors and employers are as well.
One of the major actions that are on the chopping block is furloughs, which means cutting hours and pay of teachers and employers at commissaries. When this happens, “civilian personnel will be furloughed one day a week from April through the end of September” (Garamone) which means taking a day off without pay. The opposition will stand by saying such things as air shows and the amount of TDY’s (temporary deployments) that are happening need to fully stop or significantly decrease. This is a smart move as budget cuts need to happen across the DOD but it should not come at the expense of DOD school teachers Senator Murray from Washington State addressed Congress in regards to sequestration on the same subject of furloughs and school cuts, she said, “29,000 local civilian Defense employees could be furloughed. Thousands of Washington students could lose access to Head Start services and basic education resources” (Murray). A study recently conducted by George Mason University also identified that damaging impact the sequester will have; “nearly ten percent of the 2.1 million jobs that would be lost as a result of sequestration would result in a loss of $20.8 billion in gross state product for Virgina alone” ( Virginia Senators, House Members Speak Out Against Sequestration’s Effect on the Commonwealth). Earlier this month a memorandum went out to all military members. It discussed programs that will be affected ranging from professional military education classes and shortening the length to cutting our tuition assistance. On March 5, 2003, the Marines and the Army decided to suspend military tuition assistance indefinitely (Education funding cuts for Military due to sequester). The following Tuesday, the Air Force decided to cut its tuition assistance.
Cutting tuition assistance 100% is not the way to go. Instead it should be looked at as a whole