Wile E Raises His Parasol

The sequestration effects described in the memo sent by the Air Force leadership to Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter last week assume that the service immediately takes some cost-cutting steps, but which can only slightly dampen the pain. Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh described 10 steps in the Jan. 7 memo that they would take to minimally blunt the devastation. These include notifying civilians of a furlough as soon as possible; implementing a hiring freeze; reviewing items in the overseas contingency operations account to “identify potential deferments”; canceling all temporary duty assignments, conferences, and symposia; halting any public-relations flying, such as airshows or memorial flyovers; curtailing purchases of office supplies, furniture, and fresh IT gear; deferring any real property maintenance by half; de-obligating or incrementally funding contracts to encompass only Fiscal 2013; and selectively halting or delaying contracts “to reduce expenditures.” Donley and Welsh said these measures would comply with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s direction to avoid taking any steps not “reversible or recoverable.” As of Jan. 7, they were “proposed” rather than directed actions.