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By Andrea Agardy, staff writer
As lawmakers in Washington, D.C. continue to fight over the best way to address the debt crisis, the clock keeps ticking down to “sequestration,” when hundreds of billions of dollars will be slashed from the military budget starting in March.
According to Politico.com, sequestration is the formal word for mandatory cuts to federal programs. In literal terms, the money is being “sequestered” from the affected agencies because although the money may have been authorized by Congress, that spending is now prohibited. The sequester was included in last year’s debt limit law and was intended as a repercussion of the deficit supercommittee did not devise a complete package to cut the deficit. If the sequestration kicks in the cuts to the military alone would amount to more than $500 billion.
Air Force leaders delivered guidance to the force recently, telling them to begin planning for the uncertain budget environment ahead.
“Even though we’re not presuming this worst case will occur, prudent planning for the third and fourth quarters is required,” Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley said at a Jan. 11 press briefing.
“To be clear, these near-term actions cannot fully mitigate the impacts of sequestration should that occur,” Donley said. “If we do not have resolution by March, sequestration will have immediate and negative impacts on Air Force readiness, specifically flying hours and maintenance.”
Jason Austin, director of public affairs at AEDC, said officials there are acting under “near-term guidance provided by our higher headquarters.” Part of the guidance calls for release of non-critical temporary employees and allowing term employees to fulfill their contracted period of employment, AEDC had only one temporary employee who would be dismissed under the guidance; however, Austin said, that employee turned in his two weeks’ notice earlier this week.
AEDC is complying with the Air Force-wide hiring freeze of civil service employees implemented earlier this week, and vacant positions will not be filled, although official offers of employment that have already been made will be honored. The Department of Defense (DOD) currently has a total of 338 civilian employees assigned to AEDC and, according to Austin, “our personnel directorate staff is still evaluating the impact on our term employees.”
ATA contract employees are AEDC are not affected by the hiring freeze…
Read the complete story in this week’s (Jan. 23) print edition of the Manchester Times. (Click here to subscribe to the print or full online version of the paper.)