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Local military leaders fear sequestration will hurt our economy

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Updated: 11/07/2013 7:55 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Top military officials said Congressional infighting is threatening the future of national security.

The head of the Navy shared a grim forecast Thursday on Capitol Hill about the impact of sharp spending cuts.

Reductions to the Department of Defense will trickle down to military bases like Naval Station Mayport.

This comes as Week of Valor is underway in Jacksonville, a time to honor the men and women who served our country.

No matter where you go in Jacksonville, you're likely to encounter someone who's served.

"The military is a big part of most of our lives around here, said Herschel Allen. "Almost everybody I grew up with was in the military or had family in the military."

Allen, a local veteran who served 20 years in the Marines, knows what it means to sacrifice for his country. He lost his leg to Agent Orange.

He now helps local veterans find employment, process benefits and seek shelter through programs with the city of Jacksonville.

Allen fears failure by Congress to halt automatic spending cuts known as sequestration will trigger devastating impacts in Jacksonville.

Director of Jacksonville Military Affairs Ret. Adm. V.G. Guillory said his department is keeping a close eye on Washington.

"When there are defense-related budget discussions in Washington and there's a sneeze up there, we get the cold in Jacksonville," said Adm. Guillory.

Military leaders gave senators a bleak forecast for military readiness if Congress does not increase funding, and fast.

Cuts include scaling back the delivery of 30 ships by 2020, hiring freezes and the delay of $1 billion worth of ship maintenance.

"It not only impacts the number of sailors and ships and aircraft here but think of the secondary impacts with the ship repair facilities, our civilian workforce," said Guillory.

Gloomy predictions for our local military readiness.

"We need to have those folks in Washington get together and understand how important a fully functional government is," said Allen.
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