FORT RILEY, Kan. (WIBW) -- Officials are still trying to gauge the true impact sequestration could have in Kansas because it will only add to budget cuts the Department of Defense faces.
John Armbrust, Executive Director of the Governor’s Military Council, said: "We have to separate out budget reductions that are occurring irregardless of sequestration. We know that there are fairly large budget cuts coming to the Department of Defense at each of our installations to include Fort Riley irregardless of sequestration. If sequestration occurs, it will just add to those budget reductions."
"We know that Fort Riley, with budget reductions, will lose about 30% in their division and garrison budgets, actually a little higher than 30%. We know that the medical command and the dental command will also be taking cuts as well as logistics. Those cuts will come irregardless of whether sequestration occurs. If sequestration occurs, they’ll take even larger cuts," he added.
One of the first and most visible ways sequestration could manifest itself is through the furlough of the civilian workforce. At Fort Riley, civilian employees could be forced to take one unpaid furlough day a week for 22 weeks. Armbrust said the workers play a critical part in Fort Riley's operations.
"Not all employees are going to be eligible for the furloughs. I think at Fort Riley, the numbers we’ve heard would be around 2,700 employees may be furloughed and that would be $14 million in personal income among those employees that they would not receive so then that has an impact on the various local communities because they would have to reduce their spending," he told WIBW.
Brigadier General Don MacWillie, Fort Riley's Senior Commander, released the following statement to WIBW on the possible impact of sequestration on Fort Riley:
"Leaders throughout the Big Red One formation are taking prudent measures to ensure the force remains strong in an environment of fiscal uncertainty.
At Fort Riley and within the 1st Infantry Division, the new fiscal environment has and will continue to translate into budget adjustments that will affect our training, our workforce and our future contracts. We are going to slow some things down at the installation and ensure that everything we do supports our Readiness and commitment to our Soldiers and Families first and foremost. We will not compromise on these two important areas.
Recently, we invited some of our Flint Hills neighbors to Fort Riley participate in a candid discussion about what our new fiscal environment will look like and how the changes may impact their communities. These meetings and other future engagements help ensure our community partners always have the information they need as we make financial decisions that not only affect the Soldiers and Families of Fort Riley but also our friends throughout the Flint Hills. The relationships we have spent years cultivating with our community partners will be very important in the coming years as we look to share ideas and best practices and all strive to be good stewards of our resources."
In Kansas, officials say McConnell Air Force Base, Fort Leavenworth, The National Guard and Army Reserves could also face similar reductions if sequestration occurs.