Air Force says spending cuts hit combat aircraft

WASHINGTON (AP) — Air Force officials say the across-the-board spending cuts have led the service to cease operations for one third of the bomber and jet fighter force.

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Mark Welsh told a Senate committee that nine fighter units and three bomber units have stood down.

They say that when a unit is down for 60 days, it is unable to meet mission requirements and readiness is degraded.

Overall, they say, the Air Force is slashing nearly $10 billion from its budget by September 30 due to the cuts, known as sequestration.

Other effects of sequestration include the planned furlough of more than 170,000 civilian Air Force employees, an eighteen percent reduction in flight training and aircraft maintenance, and the postponement of airfield repairs.

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