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Sequestration defense budget cuts: Planned military cuts include Blue Angels at MacDill and much more

9:51 AM, Feb 20, 2013   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- Billions of dollars for the Army and Navy will be cut if Congress doesn't reach a deal to stop "sequestration." We're now learning specifically what's on the line.

The Defense Department is certainly skilled at defending the United States, but it's also skilled at defending its budget.

Here's the proof. With our partners at USA Today, 10 News has obtained unclassified planning documents from the Army and Navy. We're expecting to see the Air Force's on Wednesday.

The Pentagon figures the coming budget, combined with "sequestration" -- the automatic spending cuts coming a week from now -- will force them to reduce their spending by about 9 percent this fiscal year.

The planning documents lay out how the military will make those cuts, and they've been drawn up in a way that makes the cuts very visible and tough to stomach politically.

They would spread the cuts across multiple programs in many states -- the Army plans cuts at every single base, for example -- and they'd take the axe to some of the most popular programs.

That includes a large portion of the Blue Angels' schedule. MacDill AirFest in April would be one of many air shows the Navy's flight demonstration team would sit out to save money. Also in April, the Navy would cancel a visit by a ship and band to Tampa Bay.

The Army's cuts are deepest elsewhere, but Florida would be one of the biggest losers from the Navy's cuts. That's mainly just a result of size, since the Navy has a bigger presence here than in most other states, centered in Jacksonville.

In the big picture, the spending cuts proposed by the Army and Navy would lead layoffs or furloughs for around 450,000 people nationwide.

Maintenance and training would be scaled back. Ships and troops based here in the U.S. would need more time to ramp up and deploy if they're needed overseas.

We're expecting a similar breakdown from the Air Force on Wednesday. Obviously, with MacDill Air Force Base in South Tampa, we expect to see more planned cuts that clearly sting here in Tampa Bay.

For perspective, even with these proposed cuts, the U.S. military budget will still be 60 percent larger than it was in 2001, and that doesn't include spending on the War in Afghanistan.

We would also still spend more on our military than China, Russia, the UK, France, Japan, and India combined.

Follow 10 News reporter Grayson Kamm on Twitter at @graysonkamm as he travels Tampa Bay telling your stories.

Grayson Kamm, 10 News

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