Air Force Materiel Command will be forced to implement spending reductions that will have substantial impact on its mission if sequestration takes effect March 1.
These reductions along with other Air Force-wide cuts will ultimately harm overall Air Force operations and readiness, Air Force officials have said.
All aspects of the command’s mission of science and technology, life-cycle management, test and evaluation, and the sustainment of the Air Force’s fleet of aircraft will be degraded if budget sequestration measures occur.
Sequestration will force the command to reduce its daily operating budget and take additional cuts to other programs such as civilian pay, aircraft maintenance, research and development, test, and acquisition of new weapon systems. The impacts would not only be felt at AFMC locations, but would ripple throughout the entire Air Force since AFMC is the executive agent for many programs and systems.
AFMC officials are planning for sequestration impacts that include:
- Reduced weapon systems sustainment, resulting from funding cuts for the maintenance of aircraft and other systems.
- If directed by the Department of Defense, furlough of civilian employees of up to 22 days between April and September. This will impact the AFMC mission across the spectrum of life-cycle acquisition, management and sustainment of Air Force weapon systems.
- Reduced testing of Air Force weapons systems. Test schedules may be impacted by factors such as civilian furloughs, aircraft maintenance reductions and reduced base operating support.
- Deferment of funds to be invested in long-term research and development projects.
These effects will be felt for years to come, officials said.
The command announced in January it would undertake several near-term actions to save money such as implementing a temporary civilian hiring freeze, release of non-mission critical term and temporary employees, cancellation of non-mission critical travel, limiting supply purchases, reducing some service contracts, and postponement of non-emergency facility sustainment.
If sequestration occurs, these near-term actions, already underway, will continue through the remainder of the year, further reducing the ability of each AFMC installation to accomplish its mission. It will also be felt by other services and federal agencies, particularly tenants on our installations. Also, customers who use various AFMC facilities for test and evaluation work would be impacted.