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Air Force to cut civilian jobs

900 jobs will be lost across the force, but Wright-Patt impact unknown.

The Air Force will slash 900 civilian jobs in fiscal year 2014 because of budget pressures, the service announced Wednesday.

Of those cuts, 217 jobs will be eliminated at nine Air Force Materiel Command bases across the United States, including Wright-Patterson, said AFMC spokesman Ron Fry.

The number of jobs that will be cut at Wright-Patterson was not immediately available.

“We are committed to using all voluntary workforce rebalancing and shaping programs before resorting to any involuntary civilian separation programs,” Fry said in an email. The reductions are expected to be across the board, he said.

AFMC expects to cut uniform service members positions, but those numbers have not yet been settled, he said. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh has predicted sequestration, or automatic budget cuts, would mean cutting the positions of 25,000 airmen during the next five years.

The Air Force also will maintain about 7,000 job vacancies to meet budget constraints, according to the Air Force News Service.

“The Defense Department used administrative furloughs to meet civilian pay budget demands in the compressed time frame between sequestration and the end of (fiscal year 2013 on Sept. 30),” Brig. Gen. Gina Grosso, Air Force director of force management policy, said in a statement. “We will meet a similar budgetary challenge in (fiscal year) 14 through a reduced workforce.”

The Air Force announcement Wednesday does not take into account a compromise bill the Senate and House leadership reached this week that could lessen the effects of sequestration and job cuts, said U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, who said the bill would offer certainty in budget planning for the Pentagon. The legislation awaits a final vote in both the House and the Senate.

“There certainly will be some reductions, but they won’t be at the level that the Air Force has announced if this budget passes,” the congressman said.

He reiterated Wednesday 6,000 jobs at Wright-Patterson would be at risk if the full impact of sequestration were allowed to happen. “This has to be avoided,” he said. Turner, chairman of the House Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee, had a forum in Dayton last month on the impact of sequestration on Wright-Patterson and the region.

Michael Gessel, Dayton Development Coalition vice president of federal programs, said the coalition has worked with the congressional delegation, state and local leaders to preserve jobs at the base.

“As the Air Force draws down, there will be cuts and Wright-Patterson will receive its share of those cuts,” he said. “We are focused on supporting the missions of Wright-Patt and maintaining them.”

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