155 Air Force jobs to be eliminated in Southern Nevada


A total of 155 positions staffed by civilian workers will be eliminated at Nellis and Creech Air Force bases and the Nevada Test and Training Range, an Air Force spokeswoman confirmed Friday.

"The 155 positions will be eliminated, but some were already vacant because of hiring controls and a hiring freeze," said Ann Stefanek, an Air Force spokeswoman at the Pentagon. The jobs are among 9,000 the Air Force plans to eliminate nationwide in a cost-saving move.

A Nellis spokesman, 2nd Lt. Ken Lustig, said the civilian cutbacks under consideration at Nellis, Creech and the training range are jobs across the board, not targeting specific occupations.

Combined, the Southern Nevada bases and range installations account for 10,393 military and 4,366 civilian employees with a payroll of nearly $1.2 billion. In 2010, there were about 6,416 indirect jobs created with an annual dollar value of $257 million.

"We've had a civilian hiring freeze for some time. Of those 155 being considered, some or all might be cut," Lustig said Thursday.

The Nellis base, with the range to the north with 12,000 square miles of operating airspace, is the nation's premier training ground for fighter pilots.

Creech Air Force Base at Indian Springs, 45 miles northwest of Las Vegas, is the nation's hub for remotely piloted aircraft such as the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper, which fly armed combat missions overseas. The aircraft -- equipped with laser-guided Hellfire missiles and 500-pound "smart bombs," in the case of the Reaper -- can be controlled via satellite links from Creech and other ground-station locations in the United States and abroad after they been launched near war zones in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Earlier this week, the secretary of the Air Force public affairs staff announced cutbacks described as "several adjustments to the civilian workforce" spurred by the Department of Defense "to stop civilian growth above fiscal year 2010 levels."

"These adjustments reflect several initiatives designed to align limited resources based on Air Force priorities. This process is an ongoing effort to increase efficiencies, reduce overhead and eliminate redundancy," Lt. Col. Cynthia Anderson reported in an online story Wednesday on the Air Force website.

The story quotes Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley as saying, "We are making difficult choices about how to deliberately restructure and posture the force and will continue to look for new ways of accomplishing the mission. We can't afford business as usual."

The Air Force's largest employer of civilians, the Air Force Materiel Command at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, is targeted to eliminate the most jobs.

Stefanek said a federal hiring control started in May requires that two positions must be vacated before one can be filled. Also, a hiring freeze took effect Aug. 11.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said the Air Force is focusing on voluntary measures to achieve reductions whenever possible. He said the restructuring of the Materiel Command at Wright Patterson will eliminate about 1,000 positions and create a lead center for each of its five missions areas.

The Air Force Test Center will be based at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., the Air Force Research Laboratory will remain at Wright Patterson, and the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center will remain at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., according to the website story.

 

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