Invisible Reductions

Six military and industrial associations—including AFA—sent a letter to the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff this week urging them to bolster education efforts to the general public and members of Congress on the dire impacts of sequestration. The Nov. 6 letter—signed by AFA, Aerospace Industries Association, the Association of the United States Army, the Navy League, the National Defense Industrial Association, and the National Guard Association of the United States—says the US “is headed toward the smallest military in recent history, yet sequestration still does not leave enough funding to train and equip even the remaining force structure.” The letter cites a recent report from the Bipartisan Policy Center, which states that sequester cuts will reduce US fighting forces by at least 50 percent by 2021. That includes reducing 13 Army and Marine Corps ground divisions to nine, cutting the 1,493 fighter jets in the US inventory to 1,157, and bringing the number of warships down to 235 from 285, states the letter. “These factors are largely invisible to the public until the military is called upon to respond to a contingency for which it is not ready,” states the letter. “Sending undertrained and under-equipped troops into harm’s way is something we know you don’t support, and we pledge our support to try and ensure this does not happen.”