REPORT: Navy to ground Blue Angels if sequester hits

Vince Coglianese Editorial Director
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The Navy’s world-famous airshow squadron will be grounded if scheduled cuts to the Defense budget hit on March 1, The Washington Times reported Wednesday.

According to an “internal Navy memo” obtained by the news organization, the Blue Angels are prepared to halt their famous aerobatics:

With military concern about budget cuts set to hit the Pentagon and federal government March 1 reaching a crescendo, the Navy is prepared to ground the famous squadron for the second half of the 2013, according to an internal Navy memo.

The memo and an accompanying slide show, sent out by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert last week, show plans to cut all funding for the Blue Angels, the Navy’s flight demonstration squadron and the country’s oldest flying aerobatic team.

Canceling the 30 shows scheduled for that time frame would produce a meager savings of $20 million, but it would also shut down one of its top recruiting tools. The Blue Angels website estimates that 11 million people attend their shows each year.

The decision to name drop the Blue Angels could be a part of what political observers refer to as a “Washington Monument Strategy.”

“The strategy is used at all levels of government in an attempt to get the public to rally around government services they take pride in or find useful,” explains political blogger Taegan Goddard.

Keith Hennessey, formerly the Bush administration’s director of the National Economic Council, thinks threatening to cut popular programs like the Blue Angels is liekly a pressure tactic aimed at securing tax increases.

“The question Congress should be asking is whether the Administration is trying to minimize the policy damage done by these spending cuts, or instead to maximize the pain to try to pressure Congress to raise taxes,” Hennessey told The Daily Caller Wednesday.

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Vince Coglianese