Government Shutdown Impacts Little Rock Air Force Base
Three hundred and fifty Little Rock Air Force Base civilians are on furlough due to the government shutdown that began October 1st. The shutdown is due to Congress’ failure to pass a continuing resolution or appropriations bill. Asa result, all personnel paid by appropriated funds are on furlough, except for the minimum number necessary to carry out duties that are essential to national security and safety. Colonel Patrick J. Rhatigan, Commander of the 19th Airlift Wing said the furlough has had a major impact on the Air Force’s operations. “This uncertainty has been very disruptive to the Department of Defense and the Air Force is attempting to minimize the negative impacts on must-pay bills such as our ongoing operations in Afghanistan,” said Rhatigan. He said he is also concerned about the 350 civilians on furlough. “This is a workforce we depend on to get our mission done, yet they are now facing a loss of pay, for the second time this year. This furlough creates anxiety and severe financial hardships on an already stressed workforce as it also impacts our mission,” Rhatigan said. Everywhere from their maintenance operations to their medical group, is being impacted by this furlough. Rhatigan says in the short term, their airmen are covering the jobs of the furloughed civilians but the long term effects of this shutdown remain to be seen.