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Air Force: Budget Cuts Could Affect Flight Hours, Training, Air Shows

Sequestration Might Mean 20 Percent Cut In Flying Hours

For those of you who thought the sequestration debate was over, keep in mind that the deal reached on the second day of January was just a stopgap, and that government agencies are still facing a pretty severe automatic cut if a permanent deal can't be reached.

An internal Air Force memo obtained by the Associated Press lays out how those cuts might affect that branch of the service. In the memo, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley (pictured) said those effects might include a 20 percent cut in flying hours and a possible end to "all non combat and noncritical flights" in the last three months of the fiscal year. It could also mean a civilian hiring freeze and cancellation of air show appearances.

The cut in flying time could mean more that 200,000 fewer hours spent in the air, and aircraft and depot maintenance could be slashed by 17 percent, resulting in civilian furloughs.

Donley said in a briefing for the Pentagon Press Corps that he does not have particular budget cut targets in mind, but is taking steps to reduce spending where ever possible for the time being. Those cuts are not so far causing an irreversible effect on the service's ability to wage war, he said. “We’re trying to take prudent actions now that are as reversible, recoverable as possible,” Donley said. “We’re trying to protect maintenance for aircraft and weapons systems sustainability as long as we can into the fiscal year.”



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