Will the military sequestration set to take effect in 2016 really push through?
The Department of Defense released a report that three Arleigh Burke-class destroyers (DDG 51) as well as the F-35 fighter jet engines slated to be built by Pratt & Whitney will potentially be the first to suffer the effects of the automatic budget cuts in the military, unless Congress acts to prevent the implementation of said sequestration in 2016.
Effects On The Shipyard In Contract With The Military
The three destroyers are supposed to be built by Bath Iron Works (BIW) and Ingalls Shipbuilding in Mississippi but the budget cuts will likely put these two shipyards in a position of uncertainty.
The military sequestration would also include the Marine Corps ground forces, the P8 aircraft and an entire fleet of Air Force tankers. Without Congress’ intervention and effort to repeal the Budget Control Act, the limits established under this Act would compel the Pentagon to reduce $115 billion from its spending plan for the fiscal years 2016 to 2019. This was disclosed by the defense press officer, Cmdr. Bill Urban from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs on April 25.
The Need To Repeal The Budget Cuts
According to the Defense Department, the proposed budget without the cuts is essential in “protecting and advancing the interests of the United States” and in executing the updated defense strategy. Failing to provide the funds for such an undertaking, according to Pentagon officials is likely to increase the level of risks for some military missions.
What Congress’ Inaction Will Affect
In the Defense Department’s report, they included in their proposed cuts, the solid programs which Congress supports, mainly to send a message to both the defense industry and Congress that if they go through with the budget cuts, the lost jobs and popular programs in their home districts will be on them.
The report also included programs that would be affected by the budget cuts which include:
- United Technologies – part-owner of Pratt and Whitney
- General Dynamics – BIW’s parent company
- Lockheed Martin
Other large companies which provide the military with their aircraft, jet fighters, aircraft engines using titanium alloys, land-based vehicles, and other supplies. These large companies will argue that the all these vehicles, aircraft and other projects are needed by the military.
Reducing Procurement Of F135 Fighter Jets And Engines
Earlier this year, Pratt and Whitney announced that it was awarded the $1 billion DOD contract that requires building and assembling 38 engines for F-35 fighter jets. However, the procurement of those jets would be reduced to just 17 aircraft if the budget cuts take effect.
Reducing Procurement Of DDG 51 Destroyer
Cognizant of the necessity for the DDG 51 destroyers in the naval operations, the Navy is seriously concerned about the procurement rate of the ships being reduced to one ship a year because of the financial constraints.
Impact On Costs
For the Navy’s shipbuilder BIW, the fiscal constraints are something that concerns them. According to BIW spokesman, Jim DeMartini, they have reduced their costs by streamlining their processes in order to build the most affordable naval surface combatants. Similarly, engine builder, Pratt and Whitney are worried by the delay in the procurement which is likely to result from the sequestration. While they succeeded in reducing the production cost for the F135 engines, the company is concerned that any reduction or delay in procurement will have an impact on their costs.
What will the military do from now ‘til 2016?
2 thoughts on “Why Military Contractors Are Concerned About The 2016 Sequestration”
It seems like budget cuts are happening all across the board. Service members next year will be paying more for prescriptions bought off base, getting less of a housing subsidy and a picking up a smaller pay raise under an agreement reached between Senate and House lawmakers. I wonder what is coming next on the Capitol Hill’s docket. If these budget cuts continue, the U.S. is going to be left behind in the arms race.
The way I see it, the American military is preparing to go under the knife, bracing for proposed cuts that would turn it into a force almost unrecognizable from its post-Cold War ancestor that endured roughly 13 years of protracted ground war in the Middle East. This is a very consequential budget. This is a different time. This is the first time in 13 years they will be presenting a budget to the Congress of the United States without a war footing.
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