By Andrea Agardy, staff writer
The effects of the federal sequester are hitting home at the Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC).
On Friday afternoon, a message from AEDC Commander Col. Raymond G. Toth was posted on the base’s sequester website, www.arnold.af.mil/sequestration, updating the workforce about the impending budget cuts.
Sequestration went into effect on March 1 after federal legislators failed to come to an agreement to reduce the nation’s deficit. The sequester — which was initially intended to motivate Congress to strike a deal — calls for deep, across-the-board cuts to federal funding totaling $1.2 trillion over the next decade, split evenly between defense and nondefense spending.
The cuts to AEDC’s funding, according to Toth, amount to a 9.9 percent reduction in research, development test and evaluation accounts in addition to slashing the operations and management account by 29 percent from the base’s baseline for the 2013 fiscal year.
“What this really means is with only six months remaining in the fiscal year, I must take significant and immediate actions to live within the remaining budget and continue the test mission,” Toth’s message states. “…These reductions will indeed impact the way we do business and the high standards we maintain. However, we are making focused decisions to ensure we continue our test mission as long as possible.”
The commander further stated that he has been meeting with Steve Pearson, general manager of Aerospace Testing Alliance (ATA), the AEDC contractor, to limit the impact on the base’s civilian employees, who comprise the overwhelming majority of the workforce there. Military personnel have been exempted from furloughs and other cost-cutting measures.
“Unfortunately, I anticipate ATA may be forced to release some employees in the coming weeks,” Toth said.
Messages left for ATA public affairs director Kathy Gattis seeking comment on what ATA employees can expect as the cuts are implemented were not returned by press time