Officials at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton say that under guidance from the Department of Defense, they have begun planning for a potential reduction of 15% of their operating budget as a result of sequestration. In a press conference Thursday, Col. Cassie Barlow told reporters that a furlough of civilian employees isn't out of the question, but it would be a last resort.
Barlow said, "Throughout the planning process we think it's very important to work with our, 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 planning by identifying mission critical operations at Wright-Patt - one of those operations being Readiness.
"We will continue to fight the wars down range. We need to continue to send, 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, through the planning to see which of our employees are impacted."
Col. Barlow contends that any amount of reductions will have a significant impact. The Base has about 13,000 civilian employees - that's about 60% of their workforce, and Barlow says there 5o 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 to personnel are expected before April.