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News > Sequestration Would Affect 403rd Mission Readiness, Local Economy
 
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Sequestration
12/14/2012 - KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. - 403rd Wing aircrew members prep a C-130J-30 aircraft for takeoff. Air Force Reserve Command officials estimate automatic budget cuts triggered by sequestration will result in a reduction of up to 18 percent of flying hours and affect the command's 13,000 civilian employees.The 403rd provides tactical airlift support and aerial weather reconnaissance during peace and war-time contingencies. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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Sequestration Would Affect 403rd Mission Readiness, Local Economy

Posted 3/6/2013   Updated 3/6/2013 Email story   Print story

    


by 403rd Wing Public Affairs
403rd Wing Public Affairs


3/6/2013 - KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Leadership and full-time Air Force Reservists and civilians of the 403rd Reserve Wing await the effects of the March 1 decision that may mandate furloughs - mandatory unpaid time off - for most civilian Defense Department employees.

The furloughs, if implemented, will start in late April likely would be one day per week for the last 22 weeks of the 2013 fiscal year, equating to a 20 percent cut in pay for that timeframe,
Pentagon officials announced Feb. 20. 

Sequestration is a provision in budget law that triggered the $470 billion in across-the-board spending cuts spread over the next 10 years. These cuts are in addition to the $487 billion in defense spending cuts over the next 10 years the Department of Defense is planning.

Air Force Reserve Command officials estimate automatic budget cuts triggered by sequestration will result in a reduction of up to 18 percent of flying hours and affect the command's 13,000 civilian employees.

The 403rd employs approximately 280 Air Reserve Technicians and 30 full-time civilians. A reduction in flying hours would result in unacceptable readiness levels, officials say, and the negative economic impact to the employees and the Keesler community would be approximately $1.5 million over the next six months.
 
"The 403rd is the only flying organization at Keesler AFB, and the only Air Force Reserve Command wing in Mississippi," said Col. Craig LaFave, 403rd commander. "Sequestration will negatively affect our readiness over time. However, we will continue to provide agile combat support, world-class tactical airlift and aerial weather reconnaissance to the maximum extent possible under the imposed budgetary restraints."

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta notified Congress Feb. 20 that the Department of Defense is prepared to implement furloughs for civilian employees in response to sequestration. In a memo to all employees, Panetta vowed to continue working with Congress to avoid sequestration. He and other senior defense leaders have called the cuts dangerous. For fiscal 2013, the effect will be further magnified because the cuts must be done in the final six months of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.
 
"In the event of sequestration, we will do everything we can to be able to continue to perform our core mission of providing for the security of the United States," Panetta wrote in the memo, "but there is no mistaking that the rigid nature of the cuts forced upon this department, and their scale, will result in a serious erosion of readiness across the force."

The 403rd is the only flying organization at Keesler AFB, and the only Air Force Reserve Command wing in Mississippi. More than 1,600 reservists, including 250 full-time air reserve technicians, provide tactical airlift support and aerial weather reconnaissance during peace and war-time contingencies.



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