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Five Things You Need to Know About March 1

The budget mechanism known as sequester, which takes effect at midnight, trims roughly half a trillion dollars from defense spending over the next 10 years. Here are five things that you need to know.

1.  What happens today? Will I notice sequestration has occurred?

We recognize that the threat of sequestration brought significant uncertainty into the lives of our Sailors, civilians and families.   That said — we need to acknowledge that the sky is not falling and that we have a mission to accomplish.  There may be some cuts you notice right away or it may be months before you notice the full effect of sequestration.

We are trying to preserve flexibility and will not make final decisions about cuts until the last possible moment.  We will continue to support our forward deployed forces and do our best to preserve the readiness of those next to deploy.

2.  What will be the impact?
Not pulling any punches here, impacts will be long lasting.  We just took an $11 billion hit across many of our budget accounts — the exception being Sailor pay. If we don’t get a spending bill and sequestration is unchecked, impacts will affect our long-term readiness. We won’t be able to respond to crises as the nation has come to depend on and expect from us.  As the CNO has said.we won’t be where it matters, when it matters.

3.  What should I tell my family?
Like many Americans, we know that you are experiencing increased anxiety as a result of this fiscal uncertainty. Military leaders are deeply concerned about the impacts of sequestration on you and your families. You can tell your family that leadership cares, understands how this might impact them and that they are doing everything possible to limit the worst effects on our people — especially on family support programs. Also tell them, that we will continue to keep you informed as we get more information.

4.  What’s next?
We must continue to make cuts and reductions to ensure that we live within our fiscal means. We are now in execution mode. When able we will do what we can to make these actions reversible. There will be an impact — especially among our civilian workforce and families.  Civilian furloughs will mean lost wages and productivity.  It will also mean reduced services on our bases for Sailors and their families.

5.  Does this end the fiscal uncertainty?
No.  Unless and until Congress passes an appropriations bill and either fixes sequestration or gives us the ability to transfer funds within our budget accounts, we will be forced to continue cuts and reductions in order to preserve our ability to operate forward. To help alleviate some of the uncertainty and anxiety, we will do our best to keep you informed with the latest information.

Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) Juan Garcia comments on sequestration

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike D. Stevens delivers a message to the Fleet about sequestration

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