The Marine Corps has already spelled out the likely consequences of sequestration. So has the Navy, which has already cancelled an aircraft carrier deployment to the Persian Gulf. Now comes the Army. It has just released a memo laying out the impact of $18 billion in cuts it is expected to endure if sequestration occurs next month.
The Army will do everything it needs to do to make sure that units rotating to Afghanistan and South Korea are fully prepared for combat. But to do that it will have to stint on training and readiness for the rest of the force. The memo says that the effect of this “shortfall” will be “devastating to training and readiness in FY13 and affects FY14 and beyond.”
The memo continues: “These cumulative reductions will distress and shock Army installations and their surrounding communities with terminations of temporary and term employees, wide-scale reduction of support contracts with more than 3,000 industry partners, and furlough all 251K Army civilians for up to 22 days.”
The cost for long-term readiness is even more distressing: “Shortfalls in Professional Military Education/Training means Soldiers will join units without requisite training and preparation. These lost capabilities require years to reinstate and some cannot be reversed. The strategic impact is a rapid atrophy of unit combat skills with a failure to meet demands of the National Military Strategy by the end of this year.”
Soldiers joining units “without requisite training and preparation”? Those words should set off alarm bells in Washington–before we repeat the “hollow army” experiences of the 1970s which culminated in the humiliation of Desert One.