FORT KNOX, Ky. (AP) — Officials at Fort Knox are weighing options on how to deal with potentially deep budget cuts without hurting essential functions.
Kyle Hodges, a spokesman for the central Kentucky Army post, told The News-Enterprise (http://bit.ly/Xr4on2) that no decisions have been made on whether layoffs or terminations would be needed. He said furloughs of civilian employees would be a drastic move.
"There has been no decision at this time for any Fort Knox Army civilians to be furloughed, as that is a tool of last resort that also requires approval of the Secretary of the Army," Hodges said in a statement.
Hodges said the post has been instructed by the Army to plan for financial impacts due to the possibility of deep federal cuts.
Congress has postponed until March 1 about $1 trillion in sweeping domestic and defense budget cuts, which would equal about $500 billion in reductions of Pentagon spending over a decade.
Lawmakers are trying to reach an agreement on cuts that would be less disruptive.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said a $46 billion cut in the first year could lead to hundreds of thousands of civilian workers being furloughed and thousands of temporary and contract workers being laid off.
Hodges said Fort Knox is developing plans that are flexible.
"Planning is under way here at Fort Knox to identify areas to help mitigate our budget risks," he said. "Those identified areas must also be reversible and recoverable, and to the extent feasible, minimize any harmful effects on the readiness of our units, programs, soldiers and families."
Hodges said several factors would affect potential job cuts.
"Decisions regarding termination of term and temporary Army civilians differ by command based on mission requirements," he said. "Regarding Fort Knox Garrison Command term and temporary Army civilians, in particular, they will be able to continue their employment through the remainder of their appointment periods."
Information from: The News-Enterprise, http://www.thenewsenterprise.com