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WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. military is preparing for a financial battle starting Friday as part of the sequestration process. That's a series of huge, automatic budget cuts that go into effect if a budget deal isn't reached. The U.S. military will bear the brunt of those cuts. Cuts to the military is raising fears about our country's ability to defend itself.
Sequestration will knock the feet from under America's military. Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (D) says, if it comes to pass, he'll furlough the vast majority of the Defense Department's 800,000 civilian workers. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) put it this way - until Congress restores sense to common - no member of Congress can love what sequester will do to America's military might.
"What this will mean is that it will have a terrible effect on protecting the nation from harm," says Mikulski.
Fewer ships will ply the seas, jet fighters will have less latitude to roam the skies, a reduced number of customs border agents will be on hand to thwart drug traffickers and terrorists. Even veterans health insurance is in limbo. A shortfall by as much as $3 billion could mean retirees on the outside looking in - on medical care they can't get. California Congressman Duncan Hunter (R) is a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
"It's going to be hard for us to have the military we need," says Hunter. "You can track going back thousands of years, a nation's strength and its economy tied to its navy, especially."
Beyond planes, ships and furloughs is the growing threat of cyber attacks.
"The biggest military threat right now is probably the cyber threat and if the cuts start reaching into those areas you could shoot this economy down without firing a shot and that's scary," says University of Baltimore Associate Professor Steven Isberg.
Government watchdog David Williams with the Taxpayers Protection Alliance says many people are making cuts at the Pentagon much scarier than they are.
"When these cuts are made, we are going back to 2007 funding levels," says Williams. "The country was safe in 2007, it's going to be safe in 2013 with these cuts."
An economic ripple effect for states and cities is undeniable. Those furloughs, tentatively scheduled to start in April, will immediately hurt states with a large military footprint. There would be plenty of job related losses. Some of the hardest hit states include Texas with nearly 92,000 losses, Florida with over 39,000 losses, and Maryland and Pennsylvania with 36,000 losses.
Tuesday, February 26 2013, 12:58 AM CST
Afghan pilots learn air assault tactics from 101st
May 19, 2013 16:48 GMT
By KRISTIN M. HALL Associated Press
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (AP) -- With Afghan troops increasingly leading combat operations on the ground, the Afghan Air Force's fledgling helicopter fleet based in Kabul has learned new techniques to support them from the air.
The U.S. Army's 101st Combat Aviation Brigade started a new training program at Bagram Air Field for Afghan helicopter pilots to learn how to perform air assault missions, which they have started to use in combat operations.
101st Combat Aviation Brigade Commander Col. Paul Bontrager said the Afghans need to be weaned off American aviation during the drawdown of U.S. forces this year.
The ability of Afghan helicopters to quickly drop soldiers into combat is a new and critical role.
Gauge of US economy's future health up in April
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A measure of the U.S. economy's future health rose in solidly in April, buoyed by a sharp rise in applications to build new homes and apartments.
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Dow Record: Three tales of ups, downs and changes
AP Photo FX102, FX103
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By SCOTT MAYEROWITZ
AP Business Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- When the Dow first crossed 14,000, investors were overjoyed. ...
IN THE NEWS: LABOR GROUP SAYS CONDITIONS AT APPLE PLANTS IMPROVING
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A labor group Apple joined to assess working conditions at three manufacturing plants in China, where its products are made, says conditions are getting better.
ON THIN ICE?
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- He was already on thin ice with the law when he failed to meet the conditions of his probation.