Senior leaders in the US Air Force recently addressed the possible affects of operating under the sequestration through the remainder of the fiscal year if the US Government doesn’t make changes to the current rules which recently went into effect.
The sequestration was enacted as part of the 2011 Budget Control Act which mandated federal budget cuts designed to save the government $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. There are $85 billion in cuts scheduled for FY2013.
According to a memorandum released to all the major commands, Air Force officials stated, “”On 1 March 2013, we expect to absorb over $12 billion in sequestration reductions while we simultaneously work to mitigate an (overseas contingency operations) shortfall of $1.8 billion and operate under a highly restrictive continuing resolution. These events are unprecedented for the department and the USAF.”
The sequestration will cause a 9% decrease in budgetary spending across the board. Which means some programs will be unilaterally cut, while others will be scaled back. The good news is that military pay will remain unaffected. Unfortunately, the services won’t have full control over how to implement those cuts. In some cases, vital programs and jobs will be cut or scaled back.
Civilian jobs will also be affected, as some civilian employees have already received furlough notices. Air Force officials expect approximately 168,000 civilian jobs will be affected by the furloughs.
The Air Force will also need to make operational changes. Examples include decreasing flying hours to reduce expenses and maintain operational readiness, decreasing the number and duration of temporary duty assignments, and other cost reduction methods.
The Air Force has also decided to stop aviation support to public events, including ceasing aerial flyovers, air shows, and other aerial displays. Unfortunately, this includes standing down the Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team.
Education and Training will also be impacted. Most scheduled joint training exercises will proceed as planned, but Air Force officials have stated they will reduce scheduled attendance at Q3 professional military education (PME) courses.
In addition to the above changes, there will also be reductions in modernization and construction projects across numerous bases.
Civilian Air Force Jobs to Be Affected
The Air Force just released this infographic showing the effects of sequestration if they have to furlough nearly 180,000 people, and congress does not pass a budget.
According to AF.mil, “Civilians may be furloughed without pay for up to 22 discontinuous (or 30 continuous) days spread over a maximum number of pay periods possible with no more than 16 hours furloughed in pay period. The covered pay periods are from April to September 2013. The memo noted that only the Air Force vice chief of staff or other high-level designees can approve limited mission-driven exemptions.”