Don’t Encourage Them

• May 21, 2012 9:59 am


The Pentagon is facing $600 billion in automatic "sequestration" cuts come January, but defense planners are refusing to consider plans for how to deal with the cuts, for fear of encouraging Congress.

The Washington Times reports:

Military planners are under strict orders not to devise scenarios for meeting the demands of "sequestration," as the automatic, across-the-board spending reductions are called. Such paperwork, if leaked, would tell Congress there might be a way to deal with such drastic cuts.

"The department is not currently planning for sequestration," Air Force Lt. Col. Melinda Morgan, a Pentagon spokeswoman, told The Washington Times. The White House budget office "has not directed agencies, including [the Defense Department], to initiate any plans for sequestration." …

Defense sources say the lack of planning goes even further: The armed services have talked of the dire consequences of sequestration, which would require deeper troop cuts and missions left undone. But they are not creating studies that would spell out specific reductions in weapons or programs for fear it sends a signal that such downsizing is doable.

According to the Washington Times, the only spending plan being considered is Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta's five-year budget, which begins the $487 billion in defense spending cuts over the next decade required by the Budget Control Act. Panetta has warned the sequestration cuts would result in a "hollow" defense force if they occur.