Sequester to Impact 650 Selfridge Citizen-Airmen

  • Published
  • By TSgt Dan Heaton
  • 127th Public Affairs
Some 650 civilian and uniformed members of the Michigan Air National Guard at Selfridge Air National Guard Base stand to be impacted by furlough without pay actions taken by the Defense Department in response to a federal budget impasse known as sequestration.

The 127th Wing's workforce includes almost 300 civilians and more than 300 military technicians - full-time civilian employees who are required to serve in the Air National Guard as a condition of their employment - who will be subject to the furlough, a loss of one paid workday per week for 22 weeks beginning in late April and running through Sept. 30. The furlough will effectively result in a 20 percent reduction in pay for the impacted personnel, a total of nearly $6 million for the April-September period. In addition the 127th Wing personnel who will be impacted, another 500 employees who work for other federal military and homeland security agencies at Selfridge will be impacted by the furlough.

"We will be doing less with less," said Col. Michael Thomas, 127th Wing commander. "I have no expectation that we'll be able to accomplish 100 percent of our mission."

The sequester reductions are not expected to have an immediate, direct impact on the nearly 1,000 Citizen-Airmen at Selfridge who serve in a traditional Air National Guard capacity, generally serving one weekend per month and two weeks of active military duty per year. Training opportunities for those Airmen during their weekend drills likely will be limited, however.

At Selfridge, civilians and military technicians perform a number of critical functions, including aircraft maintenance, intelligence, logistics, contracting and medical readiness. Exact work schedules for the affected individuals will be arranged locally in order to maximize mission effectiveness during the furlough.

Statewide, the Air Force said about 800 employees will be impacted by furlough, including those at Selfridge. The Army said more than 6,500 employees in the state of Michigan will be impacted by furlough.

In addition to the effects of sequestration, the 127th Wing is already experiencing challenges with funding due to the Continuing Resolution that expires on March 27. The portion of the funding that had been apportioned to the Air National Guard greatly underfunded the flying hours program, prompting a significant reduction in flight hours for the A-10 Thunderbolt IIs and KC-135 Stratotankers based at Selfridge.

Without sufficient flying hours to train, combat readiness will decrease within 30 days.

"There's nothing worse than perpetual pain without an end date," Thomas said during a meeting with 127th Wing personnel. "I wish I could tell you what will happen after the March 27 continuing resolution deadline, or Sept. 30 when we enter Fiscal Year 2014, but I can't."