The United States Coast Guard Band is staying closer to home after automatic budget cuts under sequestration forced a cancellation of a tour of the Southeast.
The 55-member band, which is based at the Coast Guard Academy, was scheduled to play at venues in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi this spring. The concert tour was to run from today through March 14.
The band posted a message from the Coast Guard Office of Public Affairs on its Facebook page to announce the cancellation. The office said the Coast Guard held off on the decision to cancel the tour until shortly before it started to see if Congress and White House could come to a consensus to avoid sequestration cuts before a Feb. 28 deadline.
"The budget reductions required under sequestration will have impacts across all Coast Guard mission areas," the statement read. "In this difficult budget climate the service's primary objective is to preserve our ability to meet the highest-priority mission activities, including search and rescue, critical security operations, and emergency response."
Sequestration puts into effect a $1.2 trillion reduction in federal spending over the next decade, with $85 billion in across the board cuts in the 2013 fiscal year according to the Huffington Post.
Prior to the cuts, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned that the Coast Guard would have to curtail its surface and air operations by 25 percent and constrict patrols in the 3.4 million square mile U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, reducing the service's effectiveness in areas such as fisheries enforcement. Lt. Paul D. Rhynard of the Coast Guard Office of Public Affairs previously said the service does not plan to furlough any civilian employees.