Sequestration Would Cut Defense by 10.3 Percent -- in Stages, Says Report

August 24, 2012

Absent a new budget deal between the White House and Congress, defense spending would be hit with an immediate 10.3 percent reduction that threatens the jobs of 108,000 civilian employees, according to an analyst’s new calculations of the looming sequestration threat. Not all those cuts, however, would kick in on Jan. 2, 2013 -- considered D-Day -- because outlays of already obligated funds would continue.

A report released Friday by Todd Harrison, senior fellow in defense budget studies at the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, extrapolated from the Obama administration’s fiscal 2013 budget request, accompanying analysis and revised strategic plan from January to arrive at figure of $56.5 billion as the Pentagon’s likely across-the-board cut if the sequestration is allowed to take effect.

Given that military personnel and overseas contingency operations are protected, sequestration eventually “would cause overall defense outlays to drop by roughly 4.6 percent in fiscal 2013 in addition to a 2.5 percent reduction in outlays already expected due to the decline in war-related funding,” Harrison wrote. The gradual reduction in outlays for operations and maintenance would be 6.9 percent; procurement would be trimmed 3.5 percent; and research and development, test and evaluation would be cut by 5.9 percent, he said at a briefing with reporters.

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