Oct. 2, 2013—Fiscal 2014 budget deliberations have hit
a roadblock, thousands of Air Force civilians are temporarily
furloughed, and the federal government is partially shut down. Now what?
what Air Force officials are working to figure out. It might take a few days to
know the answers.
immediate [timeframe], not having [Air Force] civilians here has caused extreme
disruptions for our mission, in general," said Air Mobility Command
spokesman Capt. James Nichols on Tuesday. "However, we're still able to
carry on. It may take a couple of days for us to really be able to look out and
clearly see the impact," he said.
Department will determine what missions are essential and which ones can be pushed to
the back burner, said Nichols. However, nothing has been cancelled
"yet," he said.
continuous thing. It's a day-to-day kind of deal," he continued.
"Right now, it's all kind of fresh and new and we are trying to get our
As for Air
Combat Command, overall missions are "curtailed" as a result of the shutdown,
though all ACC bases "will continue some level of activity," ACC
spokesman MSgt. Randy Redman told the Daily
Report on Oct. 1.
personnel supporting named operations are considered exempt and will report to
duty as normal. "In other words, if units are deploying from now through
January, they will be flying at the level needed to achieve and sustain full
combat readiness," he said.
units also will continue to fly if students are "immediately needed to
support operational taskings," he said. This includes F-22 training, MC-12
training, and remotely piloted aircraft training. In addition, urgent
operational test and some other test activities also will continue, he said.
directly supporting these excepted activities will continue to work as needed
during the duration of the government's shutdown," said Redman. "Should
the current shutdown persist, we may need to bring additional personnel back to
work in order to continue to support operational requirements."
signed a law late Monday exempting uniformed personnel and some federal
civilians from the furloughs. The last minute effort means some personnel will
still get paid—and on time. But, it also means those left behind will have to
bear a significantly heavier workload.
and Training Command spokesman Lt. Col. Sean McKenna said the vast majority of
Air Force training would continue without delay. However, the shutdown will
still have a "great effect" on the command, he said, which is made up
of some 63,000 personnel—about a quarter of whom are civilians.
"There is a
big impact because you are missing a lot of the workforce. In my small office,
more than half [of the staff members] are civilians," said McKenna.
"In our wings . . . there often are more civilians than 'blue suiters' in
The Air Force
Institute of Technology, in particular, has many civilian instructors, so class
time will be limited, he noted. Students have been instructed to continue
working on their thesis statements until the budget stalemate is broken and
their instructors return to work.
percent of Air Force Materiel Command's workforce is made of civilians. It's
still not clear exactly who among them will be exempt from the furloughs, said
Michelle Martz, a command spokeswoman, who spoke to the Daily Report before shuttering her own office on Tuesday.
a better idea in a couple of days. Operationally, they have a little better
picture. Our depots fall under the Working Capital Fund, so they are not affected,
at least not initially," said Martz.
Air Force headquarters
spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said some activities in the Air Force would continue
to receive funding despite the shutdown. For example, AFMC employees whose
paychecks are funded by the WCF are safe until the fund runs dry, she said.
directly supports combat activities and military operations also is exempt, as
would be anything funded with prior-year or multiyear money, she said.
Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters traveling with him in South Korea on
Tuesday that Defense Department lawyers "believe that maybe we can expand
the exempt status," bringing more civilians back to work.
Hagel said the
Pentagon would make every effort to call back as many civilian employees as possible.
though we are exempted, our military has no budget," said Hagel. "We
are still working under this dark cloud of uncertainty not knowing what's going
to happen. This reflects on our missions around the world. It reflects on our
allies questioning our commitments. It affects our planning as we are in the
process . . . of preparing a 2015 budget," he said.
notices appeared at many Air Force websites and social media sites that new
postings at these sites would not be coming until the shutdown is over. Stefanek said one
exception is the main Air Force website (www.af.mil) where shutdown-related updates will
continue to appear.
The National Museum
of the US Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, announced on Oct. 1 it had temporarily closed its
doors due to the shutdown.
congressionally mandated commission studying the Air Force's force structure has postponed several public hearings.
The Civil Air Patrol,
however, said it would continue to perform emergency and disaster-response
missions during the shutdown.