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The First Cut is the Deepest? Maybe so for the DoD…

“The first cut is the deepest.” It’s a line from a Sheryl Crowe song, but it might as well be the tagline for the Defense Department.

The Pentagon is facing a pretty austere environment over the next 10 years if sequestration goes through.

The DoD will need to cut roughly 10% in the next 10 years. But Todd Harrison, the senior fellow for Defense Budget Studies and the Center for Strategic Budgetary Assessments, says the 10% in cuts isn’t the biggest problem with sequestration. He told Chris Dorobek on the Dorobek Insider Program that the un-targeted cuts are what’s really problematic.

Todd Harrison, senior fellow CSBA, on sequestration possibilities by cdorobek

But Harrison, who wrote a new report,”Strategy in a Year of Fiscal Uncertainty,” says there are a couple of ways the Pentagon can deal with the sequestration issue.
  • The first and least preferred option: “The DoD could follow sequestration exactly like it’s laid out. 10 percent cuts over the next 10 years. Which equates to roughly $52 billion dollars a year. These cuts would be un-targed and uniform across the different platforms.
  • Second: “The Pentagon could use a loophole in the bill to supplement the automatic cuts with war funding.” But Harrison warns, “with the Iraq War over and 2 years remaining in the Afghanistan War, this is not a permanent solutions. But it could ease some hardships early on.”
  • Third, Harrison says, “The DoD could alter sequestration, meaning they could backload the cuts, save funding in the short term and prepare for bigger cuts in the long term.”

With all these cuts, Harrison warns their could be turf wars headed to the Pentagon. The Air Force could be pitted against the Navy…the reserves against the active forces.

Todd Harrison, senior fellow CSBA, on Departments at war by cdorobek

So chime in and tell us what you think the Pentagon should do. Or do you think sequestration’s not going to happen? Will the DoD will find a way to avoid them? Hit the comment section and let me know.

To listen to Todd’s full interview you can catch the full radio show at GovLoop Insights or your can subscribe to our itunes channel.

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