Sequestration Might be Manageable, Experts Say

September 16, 2012

Devastating. Catastrophe. Disaster.

That is how Pentagon officials, lawmakers and industry executives have described $500 billion in automatic military budget cuts set to kick in Jan. 2 unless Congress comes up with a solution.

Yet amid all the dramatic rhetoric about those cuts, several nonpartisan Washington think tanks have produced analyses that suggest the process known as sequestration might be manageable.

The Bipartisan Policy Center estimates that even if the sequestration cuts stick, the annual Pentagon budget would dip below $500 billion for just one year, return to current levels by 2017 and approach $600 billion by 2020.

And the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) projects the Pentagon likely could avoid canceling any weapon programs, and would not be forced to lay off troops or slash benefits.

The $500 billion in cuts will be parceled out at $50 billion annually over 10 years. Yet even if they take place, Washington likely still would spend more on its military than the rest of the world combined, experts said.

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