Barksdale awaits word on budget cuts as sequestration looms - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Barksdale awaits word on budget cuts as sequestration looms


Federal budget cuts affecting defense and other discretionary spending is set to take effect on March 1. For Barksdale, the cuts could mean grounding B-52s that have become a familiar sight in the skies over the ArkLaTex.

Those possible cuts in military spending would only take effect if Congress can't agree on a new budget. The word "devastating" has been used by some government leaders to describe the impact on America's defense capabilities.

Here is how those cuts could affect Barksdale.

"My concern, of course,k with Barksdale is the fact that we have a fleet of bombers that are older than many of the people in this room today," says La. Congressman John Fleming, (R-Dist. 4).

Fleming says the current B-52s may not have too much longer in service. He supports a plan to buy new bombers in the future.

Air Force Gen. Mark Walsh says the military needs new bombers.

"Whatever the top line is for the future, that could have the potential to impact everything we're doing. As we look at the programs going forward, once we have an answer on what the funding looks like in the future, we'll take a look at this. I think you know we're committed to a long-range strike bomber. I think it is foundational to the Air Force in our future. Clearly, 60-year-old B-52s aren't going to extend too much further in years," Walsh says.

That is just some of the insight into the thought process for the Air Force as a whole.

But, if sequestion takes effect on March 1, then sweeping budget cuts will occur across the board, affecting more than just the military.

Dr. Harold Christensen, a professor of economics at Centenary College, says, "The government spending may not actually go down. Because, when you lay that person off, they move into the entitlement side. They are entitled to unemployment compensation. So, the federal government has to actually pay them on that side of the equation. It's an interesting set of things that get triggered."

Congress has until March 1 to make a deal to either forestall the sequester or replace the budget agreement with a new one.

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