How the KC-46A Program Dealt with Furloughs

The Defense Department and Congress made sure that the KC-46A tanker program received “the dollars” it needed to get through its critical design review despite budget sequestration, said Maj. Gen. John Thompson, the Air Force’s program executive officer for tankers. As the Air Force’s highest priority modernization project, DOD “took very, very, good care of me,” said Thompson in his talk at AFA’s 2013 Air and Space Conference at National Harbor, Md., on Sept. 17. The furlough of Defense Department civilians, on the other hand, “did impact us,” he said. There are “about 160 people” in the KC-46 program, about 95 of whom are civilian engineers, said Thompson. Ninety percent of those engineers were put on furlough, he said. To deal with the loss of manpower hours, activities such as training and inspection “were taken off the plate,” to free up personnel to focus exclusively on the CDR, he said. Also, Air Force Materiel Command directorates and the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center helped by sending “extra bodies,” he said. “At the peak, we probably had close to about 190 people” to complete the CDR, said Thompson.