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Feb 23, 2013 12:13 AM by Tony Spehar - tspehar@koaa.com

Fort Carson commanders concerned about potential sequester cuts

The March 1 deadline when sequestration, a series of automatic-spending cuts totalling around $85-billion, is fast approaching and with no agreement to stop it in sight Fort Carson is making preparations.

Over $40-billion will be cut from defense spending if the sequester occurs, commanders at the Mountain Post have been ordered to prepare for cost reduction by furloughing their 3,000 civilian employees. The furloughs at military installations across the country have officers concerned.

"They support our soldiers, they support our families, these last ten-years of war they've been instrumental to our success and our military readiness," explained Lieutenant Colonel Armando Hernandez. "Without them we can't accomplish our mission, they've been instrumental to our success."

If the sequester occurs the plan is to have the employees take 22 furlough days between April and September.

"Our employees would potentially receive a twenty-percent pay cut that's what it works out to," Hernandez explained.

The civilians perform a number of tasks at the post, everything from maintenance to health care. In the event that furlough days are required commanders are worried that they'll have to assign more of the work to soldier they believe should be focused on training and readiness for combat, though units currently deployed or preparing to deploy wouldn't be affected.

Specific details about the plan for furlough days haven't been figured out yet, commanders will brief the civilian employees of Fort Carson about the issue next week.

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