Kansas Air National Guard unit in Wichita could be sliced by nearly one-third


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WICHITA, Kansas — As a result of ongoing federal cuts to defense spending, a Kansas Air National Guard official said a Wichita unit could see almost a third of its full-time positions eliminated.

The 184th Intelligence Wing stationed at the McConnell Air Force Base is expected to lose 159 of its 552 full-time positions, or nearly 30 percent, by the end of the next fiscal year, Wing Commander Col. Jeffry Jordan told the Wichita Eagle (http://bit.ly/1pvx3oW ).

Kansas is shouldering a heavier load of the Air National Guard cuts than other states, Jordan said, noting the cuts were driven by the types of missions carried out by some of the 184th's unit and not because Kansas was singled out specifically.

If all of the cuts are made as expected, the 184th Wing will account for almost half of the total reduction for all Air National Guard units. National Guard spokesman Maj. Earl Brown said that 329 full-time positions have been eliminated for fiscal years 2014 and 2015.

It has already lost 26 part-time positions for airmen who pull weekend duty once a month and attend annual two-week training sessions. That figure will likely increase to 62 by the end of fiscal year 2015.

"This has nothing to do with the quality of the airmen we have," Jordan said. "This is largely a budgetary decision."

The Kansas Air National Guard learned of the cuts earlier this year and has been making adjustments, spokeswoman Sharon Watson said. The organization is finding spots for airmen whose jobs are being eliminated, and some of the reductions will be managed through retirements.

State funds comprise a small percentage of the 184th Wing's annual $38 million budget. The rest comes from the federal government.

Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com

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