The U.S. Military is preparing for a financial battle starting Friday.
In just four days, the country is set to hit sequestration.
That's a series of huge, automatic budget cuts that go into effect as part of an agreement reached last year by the President and members of Congress. And the U.S. Military will bear the biggest brunt of that sequestration.
All this week we are taking a closer look at the effects of these cuts.
Sequestration will knock the feet from under America’s military. Outgoing defense secretary Leon Panetta says if it comes to pass, he'll furlough the "vast majority" of the defense department's 800,000 civilian workers.
Senate Appropriations Committee chairwoman Barbara Mikulski put it this way, until Congress restores sense to common, no member of Congress can love what sequester will do to America's military might.
"What this will mean is that it will have a terrible effect on protecting the nation from harm," Mikulski stated.
Fewer ships will ply the seas, jet fighters will have less latitude to roam the skies, a reduced number of customs border agents will be on hand to thwart drug traffickers and terrorists.
Even veteran’s health insurance is in limbo. A shortfall by as much as $3 billion dollars could mean retirees are on the outside looking in on medical care they can't get.
California Congressman Duncan Hunter is a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
"It's going to be hard for us to have the military we need,” Hunter admitted. “You can track going back thousands of years, a nation's strength and its economy tied to its Navy, especially."
Beyond planes, ships and furloughs is the growing threat of cyber attacks.
"The biggest military threat right now is probably the cyber threat and if the cuts start reaching into those areas you could shoot this economy down without firing a shot and that's scary," continued University of Baltimore Associate Professor of Economics Steven Isberg.
Government watchdog David Williams says many people are making cuts at the Pentagon much scarier than they are..
“When these cuts are made, we are going to back to 2007 funding levels,” Williams said. “The country was safe in 2007, it's going to be safe in 2013 with these cuts."
An economic ripple effect for state's and cities is undeniable. Those furloughs, tentatively scheduled to start in April, will immediately hurt states with a large military footprint.
Job-related losses will be aplenty for some of the hardest hit states, including, Texas, Florida, Maryland and Pennsylvania. PA is expected to lose over 36,000 jobs.