Eglin general: Furloughs just one part of sequestration

Brig. Gen. David Harris sequestration eglin furlough

Brig. Gen. David Harris

FILE PHOTO / Northwest Florida Daily News
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 11:58 AM.

FORT WALTON BEACH — The civilian furloughs have been announced, but more impacts from the $45 billion in sequestration cuts to the Department of Defense could soon hit Eglin Air Force Base.

Brig. Gen. David Harris, commander of the 96th Test Wing, was the guest speaker at Wednesday’s lunch meeting of the Rotary Club of Fort Walton Beach. Harris gave an overview of the base and discussed the effects sequestration has had and will have on Eglin.

Harris said he received the final cut numbers for Eglin on Tuesday. The budget reductions were about 10 percent more than he expected.

The furloughs, in which all civilian and contract employees must take off one unpaid day a week for 22 weeks, will only account for about $5 billion in savings for the DoD. The remaining $40 billion must be cut from the department’s budget by Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.

“We’re about halfway through this fiscal year, which means we have even less time to react to that,” Harris said. “The furlough is one piece. The other eight-ninths of that are going to be reductions that we’ll feel in a variety of forms. Cuts to our operations and management budgets and infrastructure improvement, investment accounts, those will all have an effect on Eglin Air Force Base in one way or another.

“Reduced flying hours, reduced operations and our ability to maintain our facilities and things like that (will also be affected),” he added.

Harris said the civilian furloughs will hurt productivity.

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