Stratcom commander raises alarm about civilian cuts
Source: Omaha World Herald
By Joseph Morton
WASHINGTON — The commander of U.S. Strategic Command has been warning lawmakers on Capitol Hill about the security toll of ongoing, across-the-board budget cuts.
Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, Air Force Gen. Robert Kehler said civilian hiring restrictions, salary freezes and unpaid furloughs are especially troubling, given that civilians make up 60 percent of StratCom’s headquarters staff.
“They represent critical expertise and they make up much of the essential workforce (that) provides crucial functions like intelligence, maintenance and sustainment,” Kehler said. “Because they are such dedicated patriots, I believe our military and civilian members will cope with the effects of financial uncertainty in the near-term.
“But I am worried that, over time, our most experienced professionals will retire early and our best young people will leave to pursue more stable opportunities elsewhere. We are detecting hints of that now.”