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Wright-Patt considering major cuts

Michelle Gigante
U.S. Air Force photo

Officials at Wright Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton say that under guidance from the Department of Defense, they have begun planning for a potential 15 percent of their operating budget reduction as a result of sequestration. 

Col. Cassie Barlow says a furlough of civilian employees isn’t out of the question but it would be a last resort.

“So throughout the planning process we think it’s very important to work within our Air Force Material Command, Master Labor Relations agreements, so we’ll be doing that.  As well as a very important part of our planning is to work with on and off-base helping agencies to make sure that we’re giving every possible point of assistance to all of our employees here at Wright-Patterson in the event of a furlough.”

Barlow says they’ll begin by identifying mission critical operations such as Readiness.

"We need to continue to fight the wars down range.  We need to continue to deploy people.  And the way that we do that is by preparing them and making sure our airmen are ready.  And then, of course, reintegrating them when they get back.  That’s also an important thing that we do, an important part of our mission.  So we want to try to not affect that part of our mission, but that will all come through the planning to see which of our employees are impacted.”

Col. Barlow contends any amount of reductions will have a significant impact.  The base has about 13,000 civilian employees - that’s about 60 percent of their workforce. Barlow says there 5o,000 to 60,000 retirees that live in the Miami Valley and depend on base services.

The base is required to provide a thirty-day notification in the event of a furlough, so no cuts are expected before April.