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Military shows Congress where mandatory cuts will hit home

Military shows Congress where mandatory cuts will hit home
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - 12:36pm

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Having warned about freezing weapons systems and risks to national security, the armed services are now trying to show members of Congress exactly how mandatory budget cuts will impact their states.

Just days before the forced spending cuts could begin to take effect, the Army and Navy are circulating estimates about which areas will be economically hit the hardest.

In documents sent to Congress and obtained by CNN, both the Army and Navy lay out the impacts on the services and industry that would be hit by the measures that may go into effect starting March 1. The forced spending cuts, mandated by a 2011 agreement to raise the federal debt ceiling, will take effect unless lawmakers come up with another deficit reduction plan.

The Army estimates that the cuts, known in Washington jargon as sequestration, will have a $15 billion economic impact across the country and affect more than 300,000 jobs nationwide.

The hardest hit states include Texas, Virginia and Pennsylvania, home to major Army facilities and industrial bases for the service.

The Army anticipates it will need to slash $18 billion in spending by the end of this fiscal year, ending September 30.

If the spending cuts are carried out, the Army would be required to furlough 251,000 of its civilian employees. It estimates that would save it $1.9 billion through the end of September.

According to the Navy documents, the hardest hit regions will coincide with the location of major Navy facilities in California, the Mid-Atlantic, Florida, Washington state, parts of the Northeast and Hawaii.

The Navy anticipates it will need to slash about $12 billion in spending by the end of this fiscal year. The impact would affect more than 300,000 sailors with cuts to Navy operational programs and cost some 186,000 Navy civilians 20% of their paychecks though furloughs.

Ahead of the congressional notification, at least three Air Force bases have cut their publicly popular annual air shows -- one each in Arizona, Virginia and South Carolina. Air Force officials said the cuts were due to "budgetary-related issues" and the looming possibility of the forced spending cuts.

Air shows can cost an air base a minimum of $100,000, according to Air Force officials. If the sequestration does hit, both the Air Force air demonstration team, known as the Thunderbirds, and the Navy's air demonstration team, known as the Blue Angels, would stop operations for the rest of the year.

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