2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Furloughs coming to Pikes Peak region bases in July

Published: June 6, 2013, 12:36 pm, by Tom Roeder

space commandI spent the morning at Air Force Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base. I learned plenty about what’s in orbit and about computer warfare. And furloughs.

The Pentagon will start unpaid days off for civilian workers in July. In Colorado Springs, and especially at civilian-heavy Space Command, it will leave a mark. Most workers will have to take 11 unpaid days off between now and Sept. 30.

Colorado is home to more than 12,000 civilian Defense Department workers, and those 11 days off for that bunch is the same as laying off more than 500 workers for the year. That means cash registers in town will take a sizable hit too, when furloughs hit.

Most commands are working to stagger days off for employees, who will take their furloughs one day at a time rather than in weeklong blocks. That’s designed to make sure missions get accomplished — we’re still at war in Afghanistan and things in Springs like Space Command play a big role — and customers are served despite the belt tightening.

Many civilian workers fear that with Congress in full gridlock, furloughs will be back in 2014 and beyond.

The Pentagon is on track to cut $1 trillion from its budget over 10 years.