Military Academy Classes Closed for Sequester

Some classes at the service academies have been canceled due to the sequester.

Some classes at the service academies have been canceled due to the sequester.

Defense One (“Military Education, Sequestered“):

At the U.S. Naval Academy — and across the U.S. military academies — furlough days have become a reality. For midshipmen, this means many classes taught by civilian professors during the furlough period are canceled. For the sailors-to-be and cadets at the Air Force Academy and the Army’s Military Academy this means less training, fewer upgrades and cancelled programs. The result, university officials have toldDefense One, is a fraction of the college experience typically provided to future military officers.

“We will continue to meet our mission of developing midshipmen morally, mentally and physically, but I cannot emphasize enough that sequestration and furloughs will have a very negative impact here,” said Vice Adm. Michael Miller, USNA’s superintendent.

A majority of the academy’s professors are civilians subject to furloughs. With the academic year starting Aug. 19, midshipmen will face about five weeks in which those professors must take at least one unpaid vacation day. This, inevitably, will lead to canceled classes. If and how the classes are made up will depend on each specific class and teacher.

[…]

The Naval Academy will also have to close its library every Friday at least through mid-August, with the first semester’s schedule still to be determined. The academy museum will close every Monday. Meals will be cut. The list goes on.

Now, I’ve been writing for months now that sequestration is stupid. And I think forcing civil servants to take unpaid leave violates the social contract we’ve made with them.

But, surely, there’s a way to spread out 11 furlough days such that they don’t impact the core mission of the academies? Even granting that they have to be taken before the end of the fiscal year, the academies aren’t open for academic instruction right now; cadets and midshipmen are either conducting plebe training, at various military schools and training assignments, or on summer break. Why can’t we furlough instructors now so that they can teach classes when they’re in session?

Close the library for 11 days now. The only ones who would use it are civilian academics.

And, surely, we have an obligation to feed the cadets and midshipmen, regardless of sequestration?

FILED UNDER: Education, Military Affairs, Quick Takes
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Why can’t we furlough instructors now so that they can teach classes when they’re in session?

    Because their contracts are based a given # of duty days within a 9 month calendar, generally mid-August to mid-May, or so.

  2. Mike says:

    But your solution wouldn’t have the same impact on the headlines.

    How about cutting unnecessary programs and costs? They spent millions on an Army Career Tracker computer system and software upgrades are needed each year which aren’t cheap; and I have yet to meet someone who uses it. This is just one example of what I am sure are 1,000s of “nice to haves” when your money supply is unlimited.

    How about instead of flying around the country on a military jet with a large entourage and security detail to talk about how the DoD doesn’t have any money, you maybe phone in that story or make the speech from DC?

  3. Rafer Janders says:

    Now, I’ve been writing for months now that sequestration is stupid.

    Well, it was specifically designed to be stupid. It was meant to be such a stupid idea that Congress, faced with such abject stupidity, would quail before it and would instead come up with a budget compromise. The plan, however, did not count on Republicans, who looked at the stupid plan and said “OK by me.”

  4. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Rafer Janders: So Obama’s strategy, in proposing the sequester, was to depend on the Republicans in Congress recognizing that he was bluffing?

    Obama to his advisors: “Oh, crap, they’re actually believing me! You people said that would never happen!”

  5. Just Me says:

    This is about making sure the sequester results in headlines.

    The sequester was always intended as a bluff by Obama and the Democrats-the GOP called it and neither party is capable of working with the other anymore-every move each one makes is intended to hurt the other party rather than what is best for the country.

    Personally I don’t think the sequester has resulted in disaster even when they opt to cut costs by canceling a class or two at the service academies (although I am having a hard time figuring out how this is the best solution-although I can perhaps see it being the easiest to implement).

  6. JohnMcC says:

    “It’s absurd to think that the government cannot get by with a little more than 2-percent reduction in spending when every working American had to figure out how to make do with 2 percent less in their paychecks last month,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday, referring to the recent expiration of a payroll tax cut for millions of Americans.”

    Economic Armegeddon? Republicans call sequester warnings hype.
    FoxNews.com 2/27/13

  7. wr says:

    Wait a minute!!!!!! It takes money to run a government for a nation of 300 million people???? And that money comes from our taxes? How come no one ever told me that before!

  8. superdestroyer says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Would you consider trillion dollar deficits even more stupid? Would you consider spending money on unneeded programs stupid? You you consider growing the public sector while shrinking the private sector stupid?

    If the government never cuts anything and just keep spending, it will eventually run out of money to fund everyhting and have to make more cuts in the future. The problem with Americans is that they think they can have all the government spending they want and someone else will pay the bill.

  9. Rafer Janders says:

    @superdestroyer:

    If the government never cuts anything

    Well, good that the government often cuts spending, then.

    and just keep spending, it will eventually run out of money to fund everyhting and have to make more cuts in the future.

    I can run out of money, and you can run out of money, because (a) the money that we use is US government dollars and (b) at some point we retire and stop making money and so have to live on savings.

    The US government, by contrast, can never run out of money, because (a) the money that it uses is — ta da! — US government dollars and (b) it is immortal, will never retire, and will always have money coming in in the form of taxes. An entity which literally prints its own money and controls its own money supply can never, by definition, run out of money.

  10. matt says:

    @superdestroyer: Could someone please explain to me how money spent by the government just vanishes? I’ve seen this stated before and frankly it doesn’t seem to make any sense to me.