Accepting Austerity

Cindy Williams
Content Type
Journal Article
Foreign Affairs
Issue Number
Publication Date
November/December 2013
Council on Foreign Relations
On March 1, 2013, the U.S. Department of Defense lost $37 billion overnight to sequestration. The cut marked the first wave of a series of planned cutbacks that will shrink future budgets across the federal government by about $1 trillion over nine years. The reductions had been set in motion back in 2011, when a special “super committee” established by the Budget Control Act (BCA) failed to reach a deficit-reduction agreement, triggering automatic cuts designed to punish both parties. Unlike other budget cuts, sequestration is implemented across the board, taking the same percentage bite out of every account. Except for the decision to spare the military personnel account that provides the pay for the United States' men and women in uniform, defense leaders had no choice about where to take the 2013 cuts. And so, with just seven months left in the fiscal year, sequestration abruptly erased about eight percent of the the Pentagon's budget for the year.
Political Geography
United States