Although Air Force leaders have already taken steps to meet budgetary reductions, the impacts that will occur from sequestration put the service at risk. The Air Force will have to take additional and likely irreversible actions. One such measure is to halt all but emergency facility repairs across the force.
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Sequestration to Impact Air Force Readiness?

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"We understand the national imperative of economic strength and getting the fiscal house in order," said Acting Under Secretary of the Air Force Dr. Jamie Morin. "And we recognize that the Air Force is not going to be exempt from the sort of budgetary austerity that is a part of a balanced approach to getting the national fiscal house in order."

Although Air Force leaders have already taken steps to meet budgetary reductions, the impacts that will occur from sequestration put the service at risk.

"Those cuts from sequestration, as has been said over and over again, are going to be devastating; they're going to be dangerous," Morin said.

Morin and Spencer, among others, laid out a set of near term actions the service is taking to hedge against the potential of sequestration. They included limiting training, facility maintenance and curbing spending.

"The actions we're taking (now) are focused on things that we see as reversible and not damaging to direct combat capability," Morin said. "Nevertheless they are disruptive to a whole host of Air Force priorities."

According to Morin and Spencer, the Air Force will have to take additional and likely irreversible actions. One such measure is to halt all but emergency facility repairs across the force.

"That results in a 90 percent reduction in those expenditures through the rest of the fiscal year," Morin said. More than 400 projects across more than 140 bases are affected by this measure, but it only equates to about $2.9 billion in savings.

For example, Morin said the reductions to the weapons systems sustainment account is going to drive an approximately one-third reduction in depot workload in fiscal year 2013.

But, like many other actions that may take place under sequestration, depot maintenance is something that will have cascading effects. Aircraft overdue for depot maintenance will be grounded until funds become available to service them later on.

Of major interest to the sequestration is the potential furlough of civilian employees. The Air Force currently has more than 180,000 civilian Airmen, with many locations where those civilian Airmen make up the majority, if not all of the workforce.

In the long term, Morin said, the nation is going to have "some pretty serious conversations about defense strategy, about what we ask of our armed forces and of what set of capabilities the nation needs to provide required national security.



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