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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Inhofe warns Oklahoma’s defense sector of sequestration implications

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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
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    Fort Sill
    • Up to 6,000 civilian employees face furloughs
    • Cuts in civilian personnel performing installation operations and support functions
    • Decreased installation and facility operating hours
    • Decreased training; reduced equipment availability
    • Potential decreased graduation rate of students
    • Decreased maintenance on all equipment
    • Reduction in readiness rates of personnel and equipment
    • Postponed infrastructure enhancements
    • Increased risk to combat operations
     
     
    McAlester Army Ammunition Plant
    • Up to 1,700 civilian employees face furloughs
    • Cuts in civilian personnel performing installation operations and support functions
    • Decreased installation and facility operation hours
    • Decreased maintenance to installation facilities and infrastructure
    • Decrease logistics and depots operations- receive, store, issue and stockpile surveillance
    • Decreased weapons demilitarization
    • Decreased weapons procurement due to decreased training, slower reset and reduced research and development funding
    • Increased risk to war fighters
     
    Tinker Air Force Base
    • Over 16,000 civilian employees face furloughs
    • Cuts 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 aircraft
    • Decreased readiness for entire Air Force fleet of aircraft due to limited availability of spare engines
    • Decreased base and facility operating hours
    • Delays in flight tests
    • Reduced operations and readiness of Guard/Reserve KC-135 aircraft
    • Decreased readiness rates of Navy TACAMO aircraft
    • Increased risk to flight operations
     
    Vance Air Force Base
    • Over 150 civilian employees face furloughs
    • Cuts in civilian personnel performing base operations and support functions, and flight line operations and maintenance (O&M)
    • Cuts to academic and simulator civilian personnel
    • Decreased operating hours; decreased flying hours
    • Decreased number of pilots getting through training program; decreased maintenance on T-1, T-6 and T-38 aircraft
    • Continued reduction in readiness rates of training aircraft
    • Increased risk to flight operations
     
    Oklahoma National Guard
    • Cuts in civilian personnel performing installation operations and support functions
    • Decreased maintenance to installation facilities and infrastructure
    • Decreased installation and facility operating hours
    • Decreased training
    • Reduced equipment availability
    • Decreased maintenance on all equipment
    • Reduction in readiness rates of personnel and equipment
    • Increased risk to combat operations
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