Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described as "heart-wrenching" the cuts that the military is currently being forced to make – including to child development programs and schools on military bases – when he spoke last week at a town hall meetingwith US troops stationed in Japan.
The service branches are trying to stave off civilian furloughs.
For civilians who work alongside US forces in critical support jobs in the midst of war, “this issue of furlough hangs over you,” General Dempsey says. “And I am personally embarrassed about that, frankly – it’s not the way to treat people.”
“We’ll get through it,” he adds of the sequester cuts, “but we’re being extraordinarily careful about how we spend our money.”
And as the war in Afghanistan winds down, the US military has already signaled what it sees as some of the next big trends in warfare. This includes cyberattacks – staving them off, as well as launching them – for which senior military officials say they desperately need more trained cyberspecialists.
The US military will also continue to monitor and strike complicated terrorist networks in places where the US troops – for reasons of politics and cost – will not put boots on the ground. For this reason, senior military officials have told Congress that they want more intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance (ISR) assets, such as the Predator and Reaper drones.