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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Sequester's Impact on U.S. Military

Will deep cuts in the defense department budget affect national security?

The influence of automatic budget cuts set to take effect this week on the U.S. military is raising concerns about national security.

On March 1, $85 billion will be cut from the United States' federal budget. The Pentagon faces a budget cut of 8 percent. 

The Commandment of the Marine Corps argued that the budget cuts will leave two-thirds of the army's brigades unprepared for combat.

Measures have been made to dramatically decrease naval operations in the Western Pacific and the Middle East. By the end of  2013, over half of the fighters that fly off carriers should be unavailable for operations due to deferred maintenance. The air force has been instructed to cancel over 200,000 hours of flight time, which should force entire units to stand down by the end of April.

"I think it's affecting the safety of our country as well as the safety of our soldiers, without minimal training that's putting them at risk 'cause they would essentially die there, that's the minimum standard," said USC ROTC student Tucker Joans.

Marine-in-training Austin Sprague disagreed.

"I'm not too worried," said Sprague. "I think the military will get done what it needs to get done, and if the time comes when we need more money for whatever reason or crisis, it will come."

According to Lee Reynolds, Associate Professor Military Science, around 80% of civilian employees are being furloughed on account of the sequestration cuts. 
Reynolds said sequestration will affect military readiness - not men and women serving in Iraq, Afghanistan or other combat environments around the globe.
"If we can't train the way we are normally supposed to train, if we don't get the kind of equipment or new programs we were expecting, then of course that's going to have an impact on readiness," said Reynolds.
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