Air Force

July 19, 2013

Sequestration impact looms despite resumed flying operations

sequester
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Air Force leaders announced July 15 that flying training would resume at numerous units, bringing an end to the three-month halt that resulted from the budget sequestration reductions.

Congress approved a $1.8 billion reprogramming request that transferred money from several programs to pay for near-term shortfalls in war funding, which allowed flight training to resume.

In total, the budget sequestration triggered by Congress’ inability to reach a broader deficit reduction agreement has cost the Air Force $10 billion in fiscal 2013. Absorbing that cut in just seven months forced many damaging steps beyond the halt to flying training, including a near freeze on repairs to buildings, significant reductions in maintenance of aircraft, and the 11 days of civilian furlough that began last week.

The halt to flying reduced expenditures by $857 million for fiscal 2013, but restoring readiness will require major additional investments in 2014 and beyond.

“We all understand that the Air Force has a part to play in the efforts to get the federal deficit under control,” said Dr. Jamie Morin, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller. “The updated defense strategy as well as the drawdown in overseas operations will let us make some reductions. But these arbitrary, across the board cuts from sequestration are undermining the Air Force’s efficiency and effectiveness.”

Congressional approval of this reprogramming request, coupled with efforts under the “Every Dollar Counts” campaign and belt tightening at bases around the world has allowed the Air Force to begin to undo some of the worst damage from sequestration. However, a recovery of flying proficiency will take several months.

According to Air Force officials, the damage will worsen if Congress does not act to avoid a further round of automatic cuts in time for fiscal 2014, which begins Oct.1. In that case, the Air Force would have to reduce training across an even wider swath of units, including likely more than half the Combat Air Forces.

Units across the Air Force are also feeling the effects of the 11 days of civilian furlough, which is reducing crucial services at bases around the world and is projected to cost the average Air Force civilian $3,000 in pay cuts.

“We rely on our civilian Airmen to keep the Air Force in the fight,” said Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning. “Their absence is felt across the board and it impacts our ability to accomplish the mission. General Welsh and I are committed to working with the Secretary of Defense to find a way to bring this disruptive furlough to an early end if at all possible.”

While flying operations will begin the long path to recovering readiness, many other areas of Air Force operations remain seriously degraded. The largest funding reductions came in areas like facilities maintenance, where many installations are addressing only emergency work orders.

“Right now, most bases only have the resources to do emergency facility and infrastructure repairs in order to avoid imminent mission failure or threats to life, health or safety,” said Maj. Josh Connell, who is assigned to Headquarters Air Force Office of the Civil Engineer. “Therefore, vital preventive maintenance is being deferred. Just like with your car, you can save money by not changing the oil, but at some point, it’s going to cost a lot more to repair the damage caused by that lack of maintenance.”

Similarly, the three Air Logistics Centers’ depots have seen their workload reduced by $700 million, meaning that aircraft and engines will not be overhauled on schedule. A broad civilian hiring freeze remains in effect, resulting in thousands of vacant positions across the Air Force. Few of these reductions will be reversed even with approval of the reprogramming action, and the effects are projected to deepen if the sequester reductions last into 2015.

Major Air Force modernization projects were also hit by the sequestration. Some programs were targeted for even further reductions in order to transfer dollars to war requirements, and these cuts will have enduring consequences.

“When we have to disrupt complex acquisition efforts to find near-term savings, we almost always end up costing the taxpayer more for less capability in the long run,” said Lt. Gen. Charles R. Davis, the military deputy to the Air Force Service Acquisition Executive.

“We appreciate Congress’ support for realigning dollars to meet wartime requirements so that we could restore our most critical flying training,” Morin said. While the flying stand down was one of the most visible actions we’ve had to take to reduce spending, no one should be under any illusion that this return to flight means the damage from sequestration has stopped.”

For more information on how sequestration is impacting the Air Force, visit http://www.af.mil/sequestration2013.asp.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Charles Larkin Sr.

First sergeant provides health, welfare for warriors

U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Charles Larkin Sr. Master Sgt. Phelipe Salinas speaks to his athletes during the 2014 Warrior Games at the Garry Berry Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colo., Oct. 2. Salinas is the first sergean...
 
 

Safeguarding, re-evaluating your digital footprint

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Social media is a great resource for Airmen and their families to share information and stay connected to relatives at home and abroad. Although many depend on these wonderful tools, recent events have encouraged us to re-evaluate our digital footprint to ensure our personal and professional information is protected from online...
 
 

October is Energy Action Month: ‘I am Air Force Energy’

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Summer has come to a close, and we’re all looking forward to more tolerable temperatures in the coming weeks. Even better news — this means your power bill is likely to go down. But if you think you pay a lot for energy, imagine paying Nellis’ bill of approximately $1 million...
 

 

Taming ‘tyranny of urgent’

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — Many Airmen lead incredibly busy lives, full of unfinished tasks that we often wish we had more hours in the day to fit it all in, and in our professional lives, budgets remain tight, the Air Force is shrinking, and we are challenged to do more with less. Yet...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis

Armory: A home for weapons

U.S. Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis Senior Airman Jaime Romo, 99th Security Forces Squadron armorer, puts a M-240 rifle away after clearing the weapon at the 99th SFS armory at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo

Nellis Open House brings history to life

U.S. Air Force photo The AT-6 Texan, which was originally flown in 1935 and flown here in the 1940s, will be one of many aircraft at the Nellis Air Force Base Open House on Nov. 8 and 9. It is a single-engine advanced trainer a...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin