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Midstate military facilities brace for possible sequestration cuts

Written by Megan Lello, witf Reporter and Producer | Feb 25, 2013 4:00 AM

(Undated) -- Pennsylvania could be one of the hardest-hit states by defense spending cuts as part of the process known as sequestration due to its large number of military facilities.

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Midstate military facilities are slated to see funding cuts and furloughs of civilian employees one day a week until the end of September if sequestration goes through.

The Army War College in Carlisle, Cumberland County could furlough some 800 workers over the next seven months.

Colonel Bobby Towery is Deputy Commandant of the War College. He says the base is the only full-service installation of its kind in the commonwealth, so the cuts would affect a wide range of jobs. "That's everything from people that work at the Defense Commissary Agency, to our medical people at our Dunham Health Clinic, to professors that teach our War College students."

Towery says sequestration would also cut down on faculty training and student travel.

In Annville, Lebanon County, Fort Indiantown Gap is also preparing for possible cuts.

Major Angela King-Sweigart is spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania National Guard, which is based at the facility.

She calls the potential reduction of up to $19 million significant. "It would impact our personnel readiness. It would impact maintenance of our facilities. It would impact our training. It would impact everything."

King-Sweigart says sequestration could also delay the Guard's ability to respond to natural disasters.

Franklin County's largest employer, the Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg, is bracing for the cuts that could impact its 4,200 workers and the entire county.

Mike Ross is the chairman of Team Letterkenny, an organization designed to help connect residents to management at the base.

He says if the sequestration takes effects, workers would have less money to spend throughout the community. "The folks who work there typically are those who are generating enough income to have disposable money that can be reinvested back into the community."

Naval Support Activity in Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County could also face cuts.

The U.S. Department of Defense estimates it'll have to slash $46 billion in funding by the end of the fiscal year to keep pace with the military's 10-year spending plan.

Congress has until Friday to find a way to avoid sequestration.

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