Report: Automatic defense cuts undercut Obama plan

Associated Press
Jun. 7, 2012

Automatic defense cuts looming in January would be more devastating than previously feared and make it impossible for President Barack Obama to refocus his national security strategy, a bipartisan group of former lawmakers and retired military officers said Thursday.

Members of the Bipartisan Policy Center painted a dire picture for the nation's economy, the military and large and small defense contractors if the automatic reductions occur on Jan. 2, 2013. Based on a special task force's calculations, the group said the cuts would mean an indiscriminate, across-the-board 15 percent reduction in programs and activities within the military, not the 10 percent that had been estimated.

The gross domestic product also would be reduced by roughly half a percentage point, a blow to a struggling economy. About 1 million defense and nondefense jobs would be lost over two years, causing a spike in unemployment.

"An absolute fiasco," said former Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., who served as chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.