Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Snow, director of strategy, plans and policy for the U.S. Army, told members of The American Legion at its Washington Conference that sequestration could have devastating effects on the nation if not avoided. (Photo by Eldon Lindsay)

Army bracing for massive cuts

Potentially only three days away from automatic federal budget cuts under sequestration, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Snow, director of strategy, plans and policy for the U.S. Army, told members of The American Legion Tuesday that effects could be felt throughout the nation if a solution cannot be achieved.

“We are taking steps right now to reduce expenditures and planning for budgetary shortfalls,” Snow told hundreds of Legionnaires gathered in the nation’s capital for their organization’s 53rd Washington Conference. “We are curtailing training for about 80 percent of all of our ground forces. We have canceled all but one of our brigade-level training center rotations for non-deployed forces. These training cancellations will impact our readiness – basic warfighting skills. It will also produce shortfalls across a number of specialties, including aviation, intelligence, engineering, and our ability to recruit new soldiers into the Army. We’ll also reduce work at Army depots, which will delay the reset of equipment coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan.”

He explained that the Army faces two specific challenges as Congress searches for a solution to the federal budget deficit crisis. The first is immediate. In the short term, Snow said, furloughs of more than 250,000 Army employees and the termination of some 3,100 temporary workers are expected to “result in low levels of readiness, and it could be as early as six months from now.”

The bigger challenge, he explained, is long term. “For Fiscal Year 2014 and beyond, sequestration could result in a loss of a minimum of an additional 100,000 soldiers... That’s on top of the planned 88,000 cut that we’re taking between now and the end of 2017. This equates to about a 40-percent reduction in our brigade combat teams.”

He said the cuts are expected to deeply impact training, modernization programs and recruitment. However, he added, troops in harm’s way today will be protected.

“As we prioritize,” Snow told the Legionnaires, “we will always ensure that the soldiers in Afghanistan and those next to deploy are properly equipped and trained.”

He said the Army remains hopeful that full sequestration “can be averted, not just delayed.”

In the meantime, though, “We’re doing everything we can to mitigate this impact.”

Snow also acknowledged The American Legion’s role in helping military personnel make the transition to civilian life and how that fits into Army policies and programs that include mandatory transition counseling for troops no more than 12 months removed from separation.

He specifically applauded the Legion’s coordination and participation in more than 200 job fairs last year alone, as well as the organization’s efforts to convert military experience into credits for licenses and credentials in a number of career fields.

“It is clear to all of us in uniform that you are doing a lot,” he told the Legionnaires.


  1. This whole debacle about sequestration comes as a result of President Obamas lack of leadership, and his idea to use sequestration. Congress then approved the idea, and avoided making responsible, less painful adjustments to the budget, in a planned way, over the past few years. The Senate had already accustomed itself to using continuing resolutions versus annual budget agreements, and Congress has subsequently done nothing. So, all of a sudden we have this sequestration that will probably take place today, and for the past several days Obama, his department heads, the vice president and Senators have been running around testifying about the destructive effects sequestration will have on Federal, State, private and personal budgets. Major General Jeffrey Snow is part of this. Will the effects be as bad as claimed? I don't know, maybe and maybe not. But, one thing I do know is the Executive Branch and Congress have not lived up to their duties, and any ill effects are a direct result of their lack of action. President Obama needs to park Air Force One, and part of sequestration needs to implement budget cuts for the White House and Congress. Perhaps this fiasco will finally be what brings people together, so they see the destructive effects of an impotent President, Federal Agencies and Congress.
  2. I doubt that what Snow is saying is realy going to happen and he is just shouting the sky is falling. All Snow wants is more funding for military spending we don't need. Come on people, we are not at war! We as a nation spend 45% of the total world's military expenditures. Why? And we as a nation spend more on defense than the next 17 nations combined -- you know, China, Russia, United Kingdom, France, Germany, India and on and on. Why? You can't tell me would be just as secure spending 20% of the world's total military expenditures. The only people that would be affected by doing so would be the Military/Industrial Complex that loves wasteful military spending.
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