August 9, 2013
The White House budget director notified Congress today that President Barack Obama intends to exempt military personnel from automatic budget cuts known as sequestration again next year.
The exemption is “considered to be in the national interest to safeguard the resources necessary to compensate the men and women serving” the nation and “to maintain the force levels required for national security,” Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Burwell wrote Vice President Joe Biden in his role as president of the Senate.
Burwell said “this action would trigger a higher reduction in non-exempt accounts.”
The Pentagon’s $526.6 billion budget request for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, not including war funds, would provide $137.1 billion to cover pay, incentives, moving allowances and funds set aside for military retirement.
Obama exempted military pay and benefits from this year’s cuts, which took effect in March. The Pentagon is being required to cut $37 billion by the end of the current fiscal year on Sept. 30.
Of that, $20 billion will come from operations and maintenance accounts and $17 billion from weapons research and procurement. The Pentagon faces $52 billion more in sequestration reductions for fiscal 2014.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned last week that the Pentagon will be forced to choose between a decade-long “modernization holiday” and a “much smaller” force if the military has to absorb cuts adding up to more than $500 billion over a decade.