News / USA

Looming Budget Cuts Threaten Pentagon

Aerial photo of the Pentagon (file photo).
Aerial photo of the Pentagon (file photo).
Meredith Buel
U.S. military leaders are warning of severe consequences if automatic budget cuts are triggered on March 1st.  The threat of such cuts is already having an impact, forcing the Pentagon to decrease costs by reducing the number of aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf.  

Starting next month, the Pentagon is facing $46 billion in spending reductions unless the U.S. Congress acts to prevent them.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the results will be devastating.

“If these cuts happen, there will be a serious disruption in defense programs and a sharp decline in our military readiness," said Panetta.

The Pentagon has announced it is reducing the number of aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf from two to one because of the possible budget cuts.

The second carrier was sent to the Middle East amid escalating tensions with Iran - specifically, to ensure the strategic Strait of Hormuz remains open to shipping.

Iran has warned repeatedly it could close the waterway, in a counter-threat to a feared Israeli or U.S. air strike against its nuclear program.  The strait is the transit route for about 20 percent of the world’s oil supply.

Maren Leed is a senior military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“That is the fear is that they [Iran] will be more aggressive or at least increase their threats to do these kinds of things, and that will in turn make their neighbors more concerned and some of our allies more concerned," said Leed.

Senior fellow Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution says having only one aircraft carrier in the region should not have an immediate impact on security issues regarding Iran.

“So all it does is temporarily, at times, reduce our standing capability to launch a pre-emptive strike, which at the moment we have no particular desire to do," said  O’Hanlon.

The threat of spending cuts is forcing the Pentagon to make plans to furlough workers, and reduce training and operations by the military services.

Defense Secretary Panetta says the cuts, known as sequestration, are dangerous.

“These steps would seriously damage a fragile American economy and they would degrade our ability to respond to crisis precisely at a time of rising instability across the globe," he said.

In addition to the more immediate cuts, U.S. troops are likely to see a smaller pay hike next year than initially planned.

Maren Leed of the Center for Strategic and International Studies:

“The military will always respond and do what is asked of them, but the impact is, it will take longer, it will cost more lives, it will be more difficult and the risks of success go down," she said.

Leed says budget concerns are having a negative impact on morale among members of the military.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid