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(NECN: Lauren Collins – Concord, NH) - As many as a thousand civilian jobs could be affected in New Hampshire. At the Army National Guard, “it affects about 450 military technicians who work full-time for the New Hampshire National Guard both on the Army Guard side and the Air Guard side,” says Maj. Greg Heilshorn.
The cuts come as furloughs, once a week from April through September, and will shave about $4 million off the Guard's payroll. The head of the National Guard has asked for a waiver for federal technicians but a decision on that is at least a week away.
“We're treating it as a definite. We're moving forward and we're planning as if this is going to happen,” says Maj. Heilshorn.
Less definite is how sequestration will impact the defense industry in New Hampshire. The military awards more than a billion dollars worth of contracts to companies here each year. In 2011, $780 million worth of contracts - or nearly two thirds of all the money sent this way - went to BAE Systems in Nashua.
In a statement, the company says if sequestration is permanent, it will "have a devastating impact on our national security strategy and the strong industrial base needed to support our armed forces." The company has already sent out 200 layoff notices in New Hampshire because of budget constraints and estimates sequestration will mean as much as ten percent of its US workforce, or 4,000 jobs.
Cuts to the Navy means New Hampshire civilians who work at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine will also likely take furloughs.
The loss of pay is difficult, but “for most of us it's not so much the paycheck that's the number one priority, it's being here and being able to do our jobs, help our fellow citizens,” says Maj. Heilshorn.
The guard does not expect cuts to training operations and practice flights to affect readiness in the short term.