It’s not uncommon in conversations around the detachment and with other cadets that the word, “sequester” presents itself. But what exactly does the word entail? Most know that it involves the federal budget, and it’s not hard to guess by the context that it involves cuts to it, but few know why or the real nature of the cuts. The sequester, as its colloquially come to be known, is a set of automatic spending cuts to the US federal budget put in place by the Budget Control Act of 2011. As designed, the cuts are projected to trim a total $1.2 Trillion from federal spending, spread evenly between 2013 and 2021, with half coming from defense spending and half from discretionary domestic spending. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that defense spending will rise at a gradual rate of 2.1% through 2023, but fall from a share of 4.3% of US GDP to 2.8% by 2023. As a result of these projections, the Air Force produced a plan in 2012 to cut 7,400 guard and reserve positions as well as 4,200 active-duty slots by 2017. However, this quickly become politically unpopular and was changed to slash 6,100 active duty airmen, while cutting 1,400 guardsmen and 1,900 reservists. Given the winding down of conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as uncertainty in the projected defense budget in the coming years, the Air Force will have to continue to be flexible in its response to these changing circumstance.
– C/3C Cotterill