The impending budget cuts facing the Armed Forces have left many top officials worried, but the concerns extend to military families. Along with potential slashes to benefits and pay, the cuts may also result in longer than normal deployments for active duty soldiers, The Associated Press reports.
Navy officials say the budget cuts could be particularly harmful to their branch. Reduced spending will not only result in fewer funds for training and maintenance, but it could also cause the extension of deployment due to the dearth of resources. Now, the Navy will likely have fewer ships to put across the globe, which increases the likelihood of lengthy deployments. Families say this added uncertainty only increases the stress and anxiety that comes with having a loved one serve overseas.
“Even before the budget cuts and everything, you never have a set time that they’re going to be home. I mean, they have a date, but that can always change so you always have that little bit of a worry that it’s going to be longer than you think,” military spouse Robin Lunsford told the AP.
The military is certainly not ignoring the concerns of the families. For instance, the Navy recently launched a wellness campaign aimed at preventing many of the common problems among the strained military community such as alcohol abuse. The program is a step in the right direction to be sure, but if the across-the-board budget cuts, known as sequestration, take affect starting March 1, there will be other concerns facing the loved ones of servicemembers.
Sequestration could dramatically impact any number of programs available to military families. For instance, schools that cater specifically to children have already seen some changes. In fact, at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas, the school has already had to eliminate some vital positions including English, math and science teachers, according to Stars and Stripes.
Of course, the concerns about the drastic cuts could all be for naught if Congress acts before March 1 to avoid them. The debate echoes a similar one from much of 2012 over whether spending cuts or tax increases are the way to reduce the deficit. Earlier this week, President Barack Obama called on lawmakers to pass a short-term agreement if they could not reach a long-term solution.