Fiscal Cliff Cutting Military Budgets

Photo by: Will Gentry

 

Budget cuts will cause the military to have a tighter budget should the fiscal cliff go into full effect by March.

According to an article by Chris Casteel from NewsOk, “military budget cuts could mean furloughs for thousands in Oklahoma.”

The furloughs would temporarily give employees unpaid leave for an undisclosed amount of time. The employee would be able to gain temporary employment outside of the military.

“The budget cuts are the result of the debt-ceiling agreement reached in the summer of 2011,” Casteel said in his article. “In all, more than $1 trillion in reductions, spread out over 10 years, are scheduled to go into effect, with the Department of Defense bearing about $500 billion.”

The threats for the fiscal cliff are real and could be very serious for the United States economy. Should the cliff be set in motion, it could bring a recession similar to the one experienced in 2008.

“President Barack Obama and congressional leaders were expected to negotiate a compromise sparing the military from the disproportionate cuts, but that hasn’t happened; the cuts were delayed for two months in the ‘fiscal cliff’ agreement approved last month,” Casteel said in his article.

Capt. Jared R. Kite, an Oklahoma Christian University alumnus, has been in the Army for 14 years. Kite’s unit is currently assigned at the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

“I think that military budgets are something that they need to do,” Kite said. “They have been trying to downsize the military for a long time. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have ended; there’s no need to increase military budgeting.”

Military budget cuts are nothing new, as explained by Kite.

“In history, after wars end, governments always cut down on their budgets, so it’s something that should be expected,” Kite said. “It forces military leaders to be more creative and make good decisions with tighter budgets.”

With a $500 billion reduction to its budget, the military is facing many challenges. Reducing how much money the government gives the military has negative and positive factors, depending on how one looks at its furloughs.

“Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other leaders have said furloughs are possible, along with cutbacks to training and maintenance,” said Casteel in his article.

Junior Cordele Brandon Jr., has been in the Army service as a Specialist for two and-a-half years and three years in the National Guard and has seen the changes of the military budget cuts.

“I have noticed the commanders are a little more careful with what they purchase, and the military leaders are managing their money more tightly than before,” Brandon said. “The commanders consider all their options because they have less money to spend.”

The fiscal cliff budget cuts affect all branches of military service. All the cuts trickle down through the normal chain of military command.

“They let us know what is going on the military,” Brandon said. “Obama is trying to stop the war, trying to get the troops to come back home. Commanders have a certain amount of money they have to spend and military equipment is not cheap, and equipment maintenance is not cheap either.”

The military is becoming stricter on who makes it during trainings and who does not. People who stand to lose their jobs are those who, according to Kite,“are those individuals already in the military who are not doing their jobs well, who did not do well on their physical tests or not contributing to the military in a positive manner.”

 Tinker Air Force Base, according to Casteel’s article, has not been affected by the budget cuts. Everything is going as normal for the base. Aircraft repair work continues and no one has been sent on furloughs yet.

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