JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The United States military is bracing for big budget cuts. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta put it into writing Wednesday -- it's time to get prepared.
In a letter the Secretary of Defense sent to every military base in America this morning -- ours included, he says they are doing everything possible to limit the effects of sequestration but that furloughs for civilian employees are a strong possibility.
For two years Charles Washington has reported for duty to NAS Jax. He's a civilian worker. And that means he isn't protected from the looming massive budget cuts.
"It's going to impact a lot of us civilian personnel and their families," he said.
Commanders on base are bracing. Rear Admiral Jack Scorby tells Action News come March 1, bases across the county will be a little less protected with the cuts to the civilian workforce.
"These workers are very important to the readiness of our Navy and ultimately the national security of the United States. These are crews that fix our airplanes that fix our ships, they're hospital workers, they're firefighters, they're police officers," Rear Admiral Scorby said.
He says 14,000 Florida civilian workers may be forced to take furloughs. And 8,500 in our region. One day a week for 22 weeks, they won't work or get paid. It won't be an easy sacrifice for guys like Washington.
"I'll just have to manage my budget and make sure that I have no excess spending and so forth," he said.
Rear Admiral Scorby tells Action News every civilian employee will get a 30 day notice before the furloughs start. They would then kick in mid to late April.