More than 10,000 Wright-Patterson civil service employees will begin to receive furlough notices Friday, a base spokesman said, capping months of wondering when the mandatory unpaid time off because of budget cuts would start.
Base officials initially estimated 13,000 employees would be subject to furloughs, but 2,300 civil service workers will be exempt, said Daryl Mayer, a Wright-Patterson spokesman.
The Department of Defense has announced 680,000 civil service civilian employees will face 11-day furloughs starting July 8. The unpaid time off will be handed out one day a week for 11 weeks.
At Wright-Patterson, nearly every civilian employee at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center will avoid furloughs, along with employees in foreign military sales and some in medical occupations, officials said. Military service members will not be required to take furloughs.
NASIC employs more than 3,000 civilian and military personnel at Wright-Patterson, but intelligence agency representatives, citing national security reasons, would not release a breakdown of how many civilian workers will avoid the unpaid time off. About 100 will face furloughs, however, officials said.
In May, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel decided National Intelligence Director James R. Clapper would determine whether to furlough intelligence employees paid out of the national intelligence budget, according to NASIC. Clapper decided to cut elsewhere to avoid furloughs, the agency said.
James Lunsford, a NASIC spokesman at Wright-Patterson, said the difference between civilian intelligence analysts who will face time off and those who will not depends on what budget pays their salaries.
Those who are paid out of the budget of the National Intelligence Program won’t be required to take time off work, but those paid from the Department of Defense’s coffers will, he said.
In some cases, employees who face furloughs “sit side by side” those who do not, he said.
“While most NASIC civilians will be allowed to continue their national defense mission, we are still concerned for the impact that furlough will have to both mission and morale,” Col. Timothy J. Traub, NASIC vice commander, said in a statement. “The NASIC personnel subject to furlough are a part of a collaborative, integrated intelligence production team. As part of the national Intelligence Community, their absence will impact NASIC support to warfighter, acquisition, and policy customers. “
Foreign military sales employees’ salaries are covered through those sales, according to Mayer.
Sequestration has imposed $37 billion in cuts to the Department of Defense budget between March 1 and Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. The Air Force grounded 12 combat squadrons, slashed flying and training exercises and maintenance. Top service leaders said Friday the cuts have created a “readiness crisis.”
The 88th Air Base Wing at Wright-Patterson has targeted $30 million in spending reductions between now and September. To meet spending restrictions base managers have imposed a hiring freeze, slashed business travel and turned off lights and air conditioning among other cutbacks.
As part of those cuts, Wright-Patterson’s commissary, or supermarket, will be closed on Mondays, Mayer said. The one-day shut downs begin July 8.
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