Now with furloughs underway, the human impact is unmistakable. The thousands of civilian employees at Tinker are furloughed on Friday without pay through September. This causes a 20 percent pay cut for the most irreplaceable component in Tinker's reach for service above self and excellence in all we do. This financial hardship must be dealt with; for many, it's difficult if not impossible.
The final result of these cuts may take many months or years to be assessed. The one fear remains that this significantly changes the prospects for Tinker to recruit and retain the best aerospace workers in the state and nation. What once was the most desirable and stable job in the region now must overcome this period of uncertainty and instability.
This situation is affecting thousands of civilian workers who didn't cause the problem. Yet our national security depends on these workers and their counterparts across the nation to still pursue service above self and excellence in all they do. This nation is asking a lot of them. Elected officials in Washington, D.C., have created this environment. It's up to them to resolve it.
Tarpley is a retired Air Force colonel and a former inspector general for Air Combat Command at Tinker AFB. He is a defense marketing consultant and vice president of the Air Force Association, Gerrity Chapter.