Keesler AFB among bases freezing civilian hires
The (Biloxi, Miss.) Sun Herald
Civilian employees at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi are among those affected by a nationwide hiring freeze suggested by the Pentagon, officials said.
"On Jan. 10, Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter issued a memo providing a list of approved near-term actions that the departments, military services and the defense agencies could implement in order to reduce the rate of spending," Lt. Col. Elizabeth Robbins, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said.
1st Lt. Victoria Porto, chief of public affairs with the 81st Training Wing at Keesler, referred inquiries to Air Force Public Affairs, which referred calls to Robbins.
Across the country, military bases are preparing for the looming possibility of sequestration -- defense spending cuts.
"Services are producing plans and sending them forward to Washington so that we can get a sense of how everyone is going to deal with the unfortunate cuts under sequestration," Robbins said. "We're hopeful that Congress passes a balanced deficit-reduction plan and sequestration is averted, but barring that, it is only prudent to begin reducing our rate of expenditure at this time."
Robbins said it is too soon to tell specific effects sequestration will have on South Mississippi military bases, training centers and defense contractors.
Plans for budget cuts are also going on at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Hancock County.
"We can confirm internal planning and assessments are under way so we can be prepared if sequestration happens, but it would be premature to publicly discuss options being considered," said Allard Beutel from NASA's Office of Communications.
Robbins said Carter's memo also suggests the immediate release of temporary employees, and the nonrenewal of term employees.
The Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport has also put a freeze on civilian hires.
Distributed by MCT Information Services