As members of Congress, the Department of Defense, and the media debate how to manage the military’s budget, they’re burning through a far more valuable form of currency — the trust of service members and their families. For the last 13 years, the men, women, and families of America’s armed forces have made good on their commitments to the nation, but the last two years of sequestration have severely damaged that trust, if not broken it. Sequestration began as an effort to force a deal between Republicans and Democrats by holding the budget hostage under threat of sweeping cuts, but failed to prompt negotiations.
As Jeremy Hilton, 2012 military spouse of the year, writes, veterans, active-duty service members, and their families no longer trust their military and civilian leadership — they fear the budget is being balanced on the backs of America’s veterans, service members, and their families. They may be right.