News Column

Spokesman: MacDill Escapes Big Budget Cuts

Feb 11, 2013

Howard Altman

MacDill Air Force Base will escape the brunt of massive military cuts as the Air Force looks to trim about 3,000 positions and reduce spending ahead of a possible half-trillion dollar cut in defense spending over the next decade.

But AirFest 2013, April 6 and 7, will be cancelled if automatic spending cuts, known as sequestration, are triggered, said Terry Montrose, a spokesman for the 6th Air Mobility Wing, the base host unit.

Sequestration looms as a possibility if talks between the White House and Congress fail to produce agreement on the national debt.

Under that scenario, MacDill won't see any Air Force military or full-time civilian job cuts, Montrose said in an email response to questions from the Tribune. The base does expect reductions in "non-mission critical" part-time employees and a hiring freeze on "non-mission critical" civilian jobs.

"There are no plans" to reduce military or full-time civilian positions at MacDill, Montrose said in his email.

Montrose did not elaborate on how many temporary and term cuts there would be.

MacDill officials have no specific percentage or dollar figure targets but are looking to make cuts that are "reversible and recoverable" and, when possible, "minimize any harmful effects on readiness."

The wing, said Montrose, is restricting flying hours, including training, to "those essential in maintaining the mission capability required to support overseas contingency operations."

The base hasn't determined how many flying hours will be cut. The Air Force is preparing for sequestration, which would kick in March 1 if the White House and Congress can't agree on how to handle the national debt.

Among the options are curtailing flying and travel, minor purchases such as furniture, and deferring nonemergency sustainment, restoration and modernization projects.

AirFest 2013 includes the Navy Blue Angels, Air Force F-22 and Navy F-18 demonstration teams and Special Operations Command Parachute Demonstration Team.


Distributed by MCT Information Services

Source: (c) 2013 the Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Fla.)

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