Tags: air | force | spending | cuts

Air Force Document Warns Cuts Will Affect Wartime Readiness

Thursday, 07 Feb 2013 01:53 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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The U.S. Air Force estimates it would have to furlough 180,000 civilian employees worldwide if mandatory spending cuts of $12.4 billion take effect on March 2, according to a Air Force document obtained by the Dayton Daily News.

The document also says the cuts to the Air Force branch of the armed services caused by the looming sequester would also affect military readiness and leave fewer aircraft in its fleet.

According to the Daily News, the changes could result in flying hours being slashed, aircraft and weapons systems maintenance being postponed, and aircraft purchases delayed or canceled.

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The document, which was prepared for Congress, paints a dim picture of what Air Force readiness will look like if Congress fails to stop the automatic cuts, or sequestration, according to Loren B. Thompson, a defense analyst with the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Va.

“There will be sizable cuts to the civilian workforce, there will be major delays in construction projects and in general money will become scarce for anything that’s not essential,” said Thompson. “What these cuts mean is that the Air Force will be less ready to go to war on short notice.

The cuts would come on top of a $1.8 billion shortfall in wartime spending that the Air Force has already had to absorb because of defense spending cuts spread across all the services.

As concerns have grown over the possibility of further cuts, some Air Force bases, including Wright Patterson in Dayton have imposed hiring freezes and have begun terminating temporary or short-term civilian employees.

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