Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio has imposed a civilian hiring freeze and is planning for possible layoffs of 344 temporary employees in preparation for possible defense cuts.
The cuts could come within weeks, the Dayton Daily News reports
, unless Congress and President Barack Obama reach a long-term debt reduction deal to avoid automatic spending reductions.
The cost-cutting measures were ordered by the Air Force Materiel Command, which oversees the base. The command said it doesn't plan to furlough civilians for now, but Defense Department officials say 30-day unpaid furloughs are possible if the nation's leaders can't avert sequestration.
“We don’t expect these near-term reductions to solve the entire fiscal challenge facing us in the event sequestration is triggered or we receive significant top line reductions,” Commander Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger said.
“These near-term actions are only small steps towards absorbing the impact. Planning is underway for the possibility of larger reductions.”
Col. Cassie Barlow, commander of the 88th Air Base Wing, which runs operations at Wright-Patterson, said workers who are considered “mission critical,” in areas like law enforcement, healthcare, or flight line operations will remain.
Wright-Patterson has already cut spending by 20 percent this year from its budget of $70 million, the Daily News reported.
The base is also canceling all non-essential travel, curtailing air show flyovers, curbing supply purchases, and more.
The hiring freeze, however, won't impact a growing civilian police force at the air base, with 50 already employed and 20 more expected to be hired.
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