It is officially sequestration day:
The top U.S. military leader in Japan says sequestration could hit readiness for U.S. forces in the Pacific with fewer naval patrols and aircraft sorties, cuts to maintenance programs and less training with allies. Officials with U.S. Forces Korea also warned servicemembers on the peninsula this week that big changes are ahead there if the spending cuts go through. (……)
Civilian defense employees in Japan have already been told they may be furloughed a day a week starting in April, and military leaders have warned that additional measures will also be needed.If the sequester goes ahead, component commands in Hawaii — U.S. Army Pacific, Marine Forces Pacific, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Pacific Air Forces — will determine which areas must be cut, Angelella said. He expects to discuss the issue with their commanders during a video conference next week.
Department of Defense officials have also said the cuts could impact the military’s ability to respond to natural disasters.
Angelella, who spent the first months of his command here telling his troops to “institutionalize” lessons learned from U.S. military relief efforts following Japan’s March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, said his forces might have to “prioritize” if they respond to a future event.
The USFK commander also has warned that tough times may be ahead for many on the peninsula, but details remain unclear.
“I am deeply concerned about the potential direct impact of sequestration on our civilian workforce and their families,” Gen. James Thurman said in a statement posted this week on social media websites and sent to component commanders and senior enlisted leaders.
If sequestration continues for a substantial period, “The furlough will affect the majority of our civilian workforce with some exceptions,” Thurman said.
“USFK will work to ensure … if furloughs are executed, they are done in a consistent and appropriate manner.”
About 3,100 appropriated-fund Department of Defense employees are in South Korea. At a community town hall meeting Thursday for Area I — the northernmost region — U.S. Army Garrison-Red Cloud Commander Col. John M. Scott echoed Thurman’s sentiments, saying: “Some hard times ahead.” [Stars & Stripes]
You can read more at the link, but taking a 20% pay cut for a few months is going to be a tough pill to swallow for the lower grade government civilians.