Sequestration’s Disconnect

Further alienation from the American public is another of the potential long-term consequences of budget sequestration for the Air Force, warned Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh. “I am concerned strategically, if [sequestration] happens, with our ability to connect with the American people over time,” Welsh told the House Appropriations Committee’s defense panel on Feb. 26. He said the Air Force already has “difficulty with that because of the lower and lower number of people who have served in our volunteer force.” The situation “will get worse if more and more military infrastructure units get smaller” due to sequestration’s spending cuts, he said. Accordingly, “that connection to the mainstream of America will get tougher to maintain,” said Welsh. “Over time, that could affect the quality of the force we have now, and that would be catastrophic,” he added. (For more from Welsh’s testimony, see Needed: Unusual Measures for an Unusual Budget Environment.) (See also Welsh’s prepared remarks.)