Nearly all U.S. Defense Department programs would see 9.4 percent cuts over the next 10 years should the government fail to halt budget sequestration ahead of its implementation on Jan. 2, Wired magazine reported on Friday.
The 2011 Budget Control Act mandated automatic, comprehensive cuts to federal programs if lawmakers do not enact $1.2 trillion in deficit-reductions by the beginning of 2013. No agreement appears imminent amid heated partisan wrangling over the looming deadline.
"Unless Congress acts responsibly, there will be no choice but to implement" the reductions, the White House Management and Budget Office said on Friday in a report demanded by lawmakers.
Sequestration would slice $54.6 billion from the Pentagon's annual spending of roughly $530 billion for 10 years. That would mean $65 million annual reductions in funding for threat reduction operations intended to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and $146 million per year lost for chemical weapons disposal activities, among a host of other efforts, Wired reported.
“No amount of planning can mitigate the effect of these cuts,” according to the White House report. “Sequestration is a blunt and indiscriminate instrument. It is not the responsible way for our nation to achieve deficit reduction.”
The percentages would be updated following anticipated approval of a continuing budget resolution for fiscal 2013 that would keep the government operating through March 27 of next year.
Issue experts and Republican lawmakers said the new report, delivered a week after the deadline set by Congress, failed to offer new data.
“I didn’t learn anything new,” Center for International Policy defense expert William Hartung told the National Journal . “In that sense, it probably doesn’t advance the ball in terms of resolving the problem. It’s still sort of playing chicken: Who’s going to budge first?”