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 furloughsCuts in civilian personnel performing base operations and support functions, and flight line operations and maintenance (O&M)Cuts in academic and simulator civilian personnelDecreased operating hours; decreased flying hoursDecreased number of pilots completing training; decreased maintenance on KC-135 and C-17 aircraftContinued reduction in aircraft readiness ratesDelay in the potential housing of the KC-46 aircraftIncreased risk to flight operations
Up to 6,000 civilian employees face furloughsCuts in civilian personnel performing installation operations and support functionsDecreased installation and facility operating hoursDecreased training; reduced equipment availabilityPotential decreased graduation rate of studentsDecreased maintenance on all equipmentReduction in readiness rates of personnel and equipmentPostponed infrastructure enhancementsIncreased risk to combat operations
McAlester Army Ammunition Plant
Up to 1,700 civilian employees face furloughsCuts in civilian personnel performing installation operations and support functionsDecreased installation and facility operation hoursDecreased maintenance to installation facilities and infrastructureDecrease logistics and depots operations- receive, store, issue and stockpile surveillanceDecreased weapons demilitarizationDecreased weapons procurement due to decreased training, slower reset and reduced research and development fundingIncreased risk to war fighters
Tinker Air Force Base
Over 16,000 civilian employees face furloughsCuts in civilian personnel performing base operations and support functions, and depot operations and maintenance (O&M)Reduced number of aircraft that complete depot maintenance (B-1, B-52, KC-135, AWACS, engines etc.)Increased number of aircraft unable to perform their mission because they are awaiting parts (Mission Incapable Awaiting Parts -MICAP)Increased time for the completion of maintenance on all depot aircraftDecreased readiness for entire Air Force fleet of aircraft due to limited availability of spare enginesDecreased base and facility operating hoursDelays in flight testsReduced operations and readiness of Guard/Reserve KC-135 aircraftDecreased readiness rates of Navy TACAMO aircraftIncreased risk to flight operations
Vance Air Force Base
Over 150 civilian employees face furloughsCuts in civilian personnel performing base operations and support functions, and flight line operations and maintenance (O&M)Cuts to academic and simulator civilian personnelDecreased operating hours; decreased flying hoursDecreased number of pilots getting through training program; decreased maintenance on T-1, T-6 and T-38 aircraftContinued reduction in readiness rates of training aircraftIncreased risk to flight operations
Oklahoma National Guard
Cuts in civilian personnel performing installation operations and support functionsDecreased maintenance to installation facilities and infrastructureDecreased installation and facility operating hoursDecreased trainingReduced equipment availabilityDecreased maintenance on all equipmentReduction in readiness rates of personnel and equipmentIncreased risk to combat operations