With the threat of a mandatory, across-the-board series of cuts known as sequestration looming over the Pentagon, each of the services has begun its worst-case-scenario planning. Here is where the cuts stand now:
The Air Force has put a hiring freeze in place and continues to search for ways to find budget savings that will not affect wartime operations.
Flying hours for pilots are expensive, so unless they are related to the war, senior Air Force officials are directing them to be curtailed.
This includes ceremonial outings including air shows and flyovers. It remains to be seen how this will impact Super Bowl festivities, since US military flyovers have been a staple at National Football League games.
The Air Force is putting an end to all rehabilitation projects, including painting, carpeting, and remodeling.
Those programs that will not be touched include funding for wounded warrior programs and many expenditures related to the Pentagon’s new strategic shift to the Pacific. Air Force leadership has also directed commanders: “To the extent feasible, protect family programs.”
Since civilian pay makes up a large share of the force’s operating budget, the Air Force has also been directed to consider the possibility of civilian furloughs of up to 30 calendar days or 22 discontinuous workdays.
“Please do not take any actions regarding furloughs,” commanders were told in a memo from the Air Force vice chief of staff and the acting undersecretary, “For now.”