STRATCOM Feels Weight of Sequestration

US Strategic Command chief Gen. Robert Kehler told lawmakers on Thursday that budget sequestration is weighing on his personnel. “Fiscal uncertainty presents our people with an unprecedented combination of professional and personal concerns,” he told the House Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces panel on May 9. Civilians comprise some 60 percent of STRATCOM’s headquarters staff and much of its overall workforce, he said. “Some of the best young uniformed and non-uniformed people assigned to STRATCOM are questioning their future,” given factors like “uncertainty surrounding civilian hiring restrictions, salary freezes, and the possibility of unpaid furloughs,” said Kehler. He said “preserving this combat-experienced military-civilian team in the face of further reductions, a potential decline in readiness, and unpaid furloughs” is one of his greatest concerns. The sequester is “already impacting the readiness of our forces,” said Kehler. If it remains in effect for years, that “will likely cause further impacts that could eventually impact our ability to deter aggression,” he said.