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Robert Hale: Sequestration Not a Sure Thing in 2016

Robert Hale
Robert Hale

Robert Hale, the former Defense Department comptroller and a current fellow at Booz Allen Hamilton, has outlined several public misconceptions about the sequestration process amid concerns about another round of automatic budget cuts in 2016.

Hale wrote in an opinion piece published Thursday on Breaking Defense that sequestration is not necessarily a lock for fiscal year 2016 even as the White House’s proposed budget exceeds current spending caps.

He said Congress can instead allocate increased funds for some categories and raise the caps through a “mini” budget deal, or it can instead cut the requested budget to meet the current caps.

He cited the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 and Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2013 as two previous instances where Congress has raised budget caps, indicating the plausibility of another increase in the next fiscal year.

According to Hale, the 2013 sequestration did impact several government programs, including the military’s training and deployment of troops.

Thousands of government employees were also furloughed across DoD and civilian agencies, but this is again not a conclusive outcome if another sequestration happens, he said.

“If sequestration were to occur again in 2016, the slowdown would be easier to accommodate because agencies are already operating at reduced spending levels,” Hale noted.

“Furloughs would be far less likely.”

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