The Air Force has announced budget cuts at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. WYSO’s Emily McCord reports the measures will take effect immediately to address the Defense Department’s budget uncertainty.
The Pentagon has already approved nearly $500 billion in cuts to Defense and the Air Force is also facing a $1.8 billion budget shortfall. Air Force Material Command last week was tasked with making cuts at Wright-Patterson AFB. Among them, a civilian hiring freeze and the firing of some some temporary employees. Travel and certain purchases are put on hold and certain studies that are not mission critical will be canceled. AFMC spokeswoman Sue Murphy says the cuts are near term actions are considered the low hanging fruit.
"What we’re looking for are items that are reversible. If the budget decisions do come through we’ll be able to come back and be able to accomplish these things but our immediate focus is on cutting out some things that are non mission essential," says Murphy.
Noncritical travel and flying such as air shows will also be curtailed. Col. Cassie Barlow heads the 88th Air Base Wing at Wright Patterson and says she does not yet know what impact that will have on community events.
"We don't know the effect on Tattoo, the Dayton Air Show, the Corona, All of our big events. Those decisions are all being made at the Air Force level," says Barlow at a press conference Wednesday. "The Air Force has said we're going to curtail flying but certainly there's some events that will still occur based on community relations and based on what the Air Force believes where we can spend dollars."
More serious cuts are looming unless Congress can come to a deal to avoid the automatic spending reductions known as sequestration. The deadline for an agreement is March 1.