Sparing Defense manpower has put the rest of the military at even greater risk if sequestration takes effect, the nation’s top military officer has reiterated.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey said President Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s decision to exempt military personnel from the cuts will increase the impact sequestration has on operations, maintenance, training and infrastructure, according to the American Forces Press Service.
“It'll be a significant degradation,” the general said Thursday while addressing Navy sailors in Bahrain, as reported by AFPS. “It will have an effect, and I think it'll be an effect felt for two or three years.”
Likely citing the Office of Management and Budget’s sequestration report, Dempsey said non-manpower areas of the Pentagon’s budget would face 10 percent cuts from sequestration, rather than 8 percent, because of the manpower exception. President Obama announced the exception in July, according to a Defense spokeswoman.
“There could be some civilian employees placed on unpaid furloughs,” the chairman said. “So it's really serious.”
Pentagon officials say they remain optimistic legislators and the White House will reach a compromise.“We’re still hopeful this will be avoided,” Army Lt. Col. Elizabeth Robbins, a spokeswoman, said.