Inhofe warns Oklahoma’s defense sector of sequestration implications
The Daily Ardmoreite
Posted Jan. 31, 2013 @ 12:00 pm
Posted Jan. 31, 2013 @ 12:00 pm
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U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), warns of potential devastating impacts to Oklahoma’s defense sector should sequestration go unaddressed by the President.
“During the Presidential campaign, Obama said ‘sequestration will not happen,’ even going so far as to pressure the defense sector to disregard the WARN Act and delay issuing pink slips until after the election. Yet here we are with another one of his failed promises,” said Inhofe. “The Department of Defense is now being told to prepare for sequestration and for furloughing more than 800,000 civilian employees. In my home state of Oklahoma, all five of our major installations will see budget cuts. As a result, readiness and modernization will decline and many civilian personnel will be let go or have their hours significantly reduced, impacting local economies.
“Despite Sec. Panetta calling these cuts ‘devastating’ and ‘catastrophic’ to our national security, our Commander-in-Chief has chosen to ignore this crisis. It’s clear the President either does not understand or does not care about the impact sequestration will have on our military and the communities that support it. Rather than working with Congress and our military leaders to avoid this outcome, the President has instead chosen to score cheap political points at the expense of our national security. If we are unable to avert sequestration, then cuts will occur to military installations. I cannot stress enough how important it is for the Chiefs of the Services to fully explain the potential impact to our armed forces and their plans for implementing the reductions; only then will the public truly know how devastating the cuts to the defense budget would be. As Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee, I am firmly committed to working with our military leaders to find reasonable alternatives to eliminate or mitigate the effects of sequestration.”
On Jan. 16, Inhofe sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta requesting the Pentagon provide detailed information on the impact of sequestration.
Recently, the Joint Chiefs issued a warning that the “readiness of our Armed Forces is at a tipping point.” In response, on Jan. 28, Inhofe and his 11 Republican colleagues on SASC issued a letter to Chairman Carl Levin requesting an open hearing for the Joint Chiefs to outline the impacts of sequestration on the readiness of our forces and national security.
Inhofe said the the following shows the potential impact sequestration could have on the state
Altus Air Force Base
Up to 2,200 civilian employees face furloughs
Cuts in civilian personnel performing base operations and support functions, and flight line operations and maintenance (O&M)
Cuts in academic and simulator civilian personnel
Decreased operating hours; decreased flying hours
Decreased number of pilots completing training; decreased maintenance on KC-135 and C-17 aircraft
Continued reduction in aircraft readiness rates
Delay in the potential housing of the KC-46 aircraft
Increased risk to flight operations
Up to 6,000 civilian employees face furloughs
Cuts in civilian personnel performing installation operations and support functions
Decreased installation and facility operating hours