Air Force memo outlines sweeping budget cuts

By By LOLITA C. BALDOR

WASHINGTON (AP) — Air Force leaders will make sweeping budget cuts in coming weeks, if Congress can't agree on a budget and billions of dollars in automatic cuts are triggered.

That includes cutting flying hours by nearly 20 percent and preparing for a possible end to all noncombat or critical flights from late July through September, according to an Air Force memo obtained by The Associated Press.

In the memo, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley laid out broad but grim steps the service will be taking to enforce a civilian hiring freeze, cancel air show appearances and flyovers, and slash base improvements by about 50 percent.

The Pentagon is facing cuts of nearly $500 billion over a decade, and $110 billion in cuts to military and domestic programs would take effect in March if no agreement is reached.

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