News Column

598 Positions Being Cut at WPAFB This Year

Jan. 12, 2012

John Nolan

The Air Force said Wednesday it will eliminate 598 civilian jobs at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base this year as part of an ongoing effort to reduce defense spending and save money for priority weapons programs.

The base's net loss of civilian positions will be 234, because of an offsetting gain of 364 civilian jobs to be added as a result of changes the Air Force had announced Nov. 2, base officials said.

Wright-Patterson's job losses account for most of the 258 civilian positions to be scrapped this year in Air Force programs across Ohio, according to a document released by the Air Force.

Also being eliminated are six of 28 Air Force civilian jobs in Kettering. The other Ohio locations affected are Columbus, Heath, Youngstown-Warren and Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base, the Air Force said.

The Wright-Patterson reductions amount to about 2 percent of the base's 12,728 civilian employees. The base has about 27,000 total civilian and military workers.

The Air Force didn't disclose the positions to be cut at Wright-Patterson, other than to say they involved streamlining of functions and adjustment of staffing in unspecified programs.

Wright-Patterson is the hub of Air Force acquisition, logistics, intelligence and research operations as well as military post-graduate education. It is Ohio's largest single-site employer.

The base has a $5 billion annual impact on the Dayton region's economy.

Whether the job cuts will require layoffs won't be known until the Air Force determines how many employees are eligible to voluntarily leave the work force , officials said. In some cases, positions that are already vacant could count toward the total of positions being eliminated, Air Force spokesmen said.

The Air Force is eliminating a total of 4,500 civilian positions across its system, officials at the Pentagon said Wednesday. That is in addition to the Air Force's November announcement involving a systemwide net loss of 3,100 positions.

The new job eliminations are to be done as quickly as possible with a goal of completing all the related actions by Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year, officials said.

The reductions represent a second round from those announced in November, as the Air Force reassesses its staffing worldwide to cut manpower costs and save money for priority weapons programs. The Air Force said then that additional cuts would be needed to reach a goal of reducing its civilian employment to 2010 levels.

President Barack Obama's announcement last week of spending cuts and reorganizations across the Defense Department could ultimately have additional impact on Wright-Patterson, said Michael Gessel, a vice president of the Dayton Development Coalition, which supports the base and its programs.

"Our hope is that we can pass through downsizing with only minor reductions and maintain the strength of the base and its diversity," Gessel said.

The Air Force said its goal is to have minimal impact on key missions such as intelligence and surveillance, nuclear weapons and acquisition and sustainment of other priority programs.

In November, the Air Force announced a reorganization of the Air Force Materiel Command. The AFMC, headquartered at Wright-Patterson, said then that it would bring additional functions to the base by Oct. 1, 2012, as part of that reorganization, resulting in the base's gain of 364 jobs.

Source: (c) 2012 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)

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