New OMB report lacks details on sequestration cuts

Speculation about how automatic budget cuts known as sequestration would be spread across government has been swirling for the past year and half.

And even now that the across-the-board cuts have gone into effect, specifics on exact numbers for how agency programs will be affected are hard to come by.

In a March 1 report to Congress, accompanying President Barack Obama’s signing of the official sequestration order, the Office of Management and Budget provided an updated breakdown of how the cuts would be applied.

However, as with the Sequestration Transparency Report, which the White House released in September and which was the first detailed account of how sequestration would play out, the latest report details reductions only down to the budget account level — not to the more granular program, project and activity level.

Sequestration will cut $85 billion from agencies’ budgets for the rest of the fiscal year. That amounts to a 7.8 percent cut to Defense agencies and a 5 percent cut to civilian agencies, according to the latest OMB report.

However, the report varies in the level of detail describing cuts to specific agency budget accounts.

Defense cuts

The OMB report outlines more specific reductions to Defense Department accounts.

Under sequestration, experts have warned of the threat to operations and maintenance accounts, which includes a range of line-items, such as civilian worker pay and upkeep of facilities.

Under sequestration, the Defense Department’s agencywide operations and maintenance accounts — which total more than $39 billion will take a more than $3 billion cut.

The individual military services will also face steep reductions to their O&M accounts.

Army O&M
Amount subject to sequestration: $59.42 billion
Amount to be cut: $4.64 billion

Navy O&M
Amount subject to sequestration: $44.29 billion
Amount to be cut: $3.46 billion

Air Force O&M
Amount subject to sequestration: $44.44 billion
Amount to be cut: $3.45 billion

Marine Corps O&M Amount subject to sequestration: $9.64 billion
Amount to be cut: $752 million

Defense acquisition and procurement accounts across the services will also take a hit — in some cases, to the tune of billions of dollars.

Homeland Security Department

Operations at the Homeland Security Department would also face some reductions.

About $479 million in funding for departmental operations is subject to sequestration, according to the OMB report. That means a $24 million cut.

More specifically, the office of the DHS chief information officer (allotted $324 million in funding) is due for a $16 million cut under sequestration.

Smaller agencies as well would feel their operations affected.

The White House’s budget shop, the Office of Management and Budget, would itself be forced to take a $5 million cut.

The General Services Administration, the federal government’s landlord, would see reductions to its Federal Buildings Fund and and its program to dispose of surplus property. However, those reductions are expected to total less than $500,000.

The $58 million allotted for the GSA IG’s office, which notably uncovered wasteful conference spending last year, would be cut by $3 million.

The $12 million E-Government Fund, which supports data transparency efforts, such as, will be cut by about $1 million. GSA’s $34 million Citizen Services Fund, which provides funding for many of the government’s public-facing websites and technology platforms, would be reduced by $2 million.


Obama signs sequestration order; what’s next for feds?

Sequestration Tracker: Guide to agency furloughs

Sequestration gives federal IT a crisis of confidence