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.