Sequestration

secretary of defense chuck hagel pentagon
Glenn Fawcett / Department of Defense/Flickr

A report released by the Pentagon this week warns of the consequences of continuing to fund the military at sequestration levels. The across-the-board spending caps have been relieved by a budget deal in Congress, but the Pentagon is saying that by 2021, the Department of Defense will have spent $1 trillion less than it had planned, making cuts in almost all areas including acquisition, research and personnel.

Lewis Wallace / WYSO

Thursday is the second day of meetings at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for small businesses in the defense industry. The event is part of an effort on the part of the Air Force to work more with small contractors; base officials say it helps them stay efficient as the government cuts defense budgets.

Those cuts have been bad news for local industry, which provides the Air Force with everything from computer systems to research to airplane parts—but not all contractors are feeling the same pain.

Large contractors cash in

Lewis Wallace / WYSO

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is holding meetings all day Thursday to talk about cost-cutting measures. In January, base officials announced they want to attract partnerships with area businesses and governments as a way to save money.

Lewis Wallace / WYSO

Dayton-area leaders are breathing sighs of relief as the proposed budget deal in Congress appears to be ending the across-the-board cuts known as sequestration.

“This deal would prevent the sequester for a 2-year period, and it also would give certainty to the Department of Defense,” said Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio’s 10th district. He’s relieved by the outcome after a year of belt-tightening for lots of government bodies, including the Pentagon. With the proposed deal the Pentagon avoids $20 billion in would-be sequestration cuts.

Lewis Wallace / WYSO

Dayton-area officials held a public meeting Tuesday about the effects of sequestration, or automatic federal spending cuts, on the local economy. They say the outlook is gloomy if sequestration continues into 2014.

“Survival mode” and “devastation” were just a couple of the phrases tossed out at the event.

“As this goes downhill, the next thing’s gonna go downhill, and we’re gonna be in a world of hurt,” said Greene County Commission Tom Koogler.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in southwest Ohio says budget tightening has postponed millions of dollars in infrastructure projects at the base this year.

The Dayton Daily News reports the delayed projects at Wright-Patterson include installing miles of water lines in different areas and replacing heating and ventilation equipment at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

Spokesman William Hancock tells the newspaper the projects aren't being undertaken in the current fiscal year but haven't been canceled. The next fiscal year starts Oct. 1.

Officials at Ohio's largest military base are bracing for more potential spending cuts.

The Dayton Daily News reports a Pentagon directive to reduce spending at management headquarters could affect the Air Force Materiel Command offices at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The directive from the secretary of defense calls for the 20 percent cut over five years. Details aren't yet known.

The commander of Ohio's largest military base says it could take weeks to catch up on the backlog of work created by the furloughs of thousands of civilian workers.

And Col. Cassie Barlow, 88th Air Base Wing commander at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, says base leaders have started planning for possible cuts and the potential of furloughs next year.

The federal sequestration is having a negative impact on Ohio’s public health programs. But Dr. Ted Wymyslo says it’s hard, at this point, to know exactly how much money programs are losing. He says the department has been waiting since early March to learn specifics about the cuts that will be put in place because the federal government has decided to cut back on program funding.

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On Tuesday, the Department of Defense announced that furloughs for civilian workers will be decreased from 11 days to 6.  That’s some good news for about 10,000 civilian workers at Wright Patterson Air-force Base, but one Ohio Congressman says it’s still not enough.

Congressman Mike Turner of Ohio’s 10th district is Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces.  This week he met with civilian Defense Department employees from Wright-Patt who have been impacted by furloughs.

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