the 80,000 personnel within Air Force Materiel Command, 60,200—more than
75 percent—are civilians. Approximately 57,000 of them will face job disruptions come the week of July 8, when the Defense
Department begins furloughing its civilian personnel for up to 11 days through the
end of September as a means of reducing the funding shortfall caused by budget sequestration in Fiscal 2013.
Earlier this year, AFMC Commander Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger said the furloughs have
the potential to severely disrupt the command's activities. Now,
the organization is figuring out how to best counter the impact.
AFMC, headquartered at Wright-Patterson AFB,
Ohio, is responsible for developing, procuring, and sustaining the Air Force's
aircraft and weapons.
"Perhaps the most visible effect of the furloughs
will be to the maintenance work performed at our depots, where we expect to see
an estimated 25 percent drop in productivity," said AFMC spokeswoman Michelle
Martz. The depots are located in Georgia, Oklahoma, and Utah.
Some AFMC civilian personnel classified as
"essential" will be exempt, such as those in combat zones or
necessary to protect life and property (e.g., firefighters, medical
The command expects to see considerable impacts
to each of its mission areas, including science and technology, lifecycle
management, developmental test and evaluation, and sustainment, said Martz.
However, like the rest of the Air Force, AFMC is offering
employee-assistance programs, like counseling services, typically executed at
the base level. Under the furloughs,
the civilian employees will see up to a 20-percent reduction in pay through the
end of the fiscal year.
furloughs will directly affect one-third of all personnel at Wright-Patt, which
also counts the Air Force Research
Lab among its major tenants. The base hosts some 29,000 Active Duty airmen
and civilian workers.
To help its
civilians cope with the situation, the base has hosted town hall meetings with
information fairs, said Daryl Mayer, Wright-Patt spokesman. The base is working
to figure out how to maintain basic services, he said.
[installation] commander has said there is certainly going to be an impact to
the mission. You can't avoid that," he said. "The challenge is how
you mitigate that the best you can. And supervisors at the individual work
level are scheduling their personnel to make sure tasks get covered."
At Robins AFB, Ga., another AFMC installation, some 15,000 of the
base's 24,000 civilian employees—about 62.5 percent of the overall
workforce—will be furloughed. Robins is home to the Warner Robins Air Logistics
Complex—one of the three depots—as well as the 78th Air Base Wing, and more
than 60 other units.
mitigate the personal and financial effects of the furloughs, Robins officials hosted
briefings for civilian employees to help them understand the options they have.
are a number of helping agencies available to assist with furloughed personnel,
including [the] Airman and Family Readiness Center and the Employee Assistance
Program," said Roland Leach, Robins spokesman.
furloughs will result in some base functions being closed on furlough days and
others able to offer only limited services, he said. For instance, base officials
are looking at closing or reducing hours at dining facilities and fitness centers,
as well as some traffic gates.
Some 80 percent to 90 percent of the Air Force's civilian employees don't work in the Pentagon, service Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry Spencer told the Senate Armed Services Committee's
readiness panel in April. 'They work out in the field. And I'm not sure
everybody quite understands that," he said.