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Lt. Gen. Litchfield Commentary: Visit to Capitol Hill

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- As was discussed in Mr. Marshall's message a week ago, I went to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress and their professional staff to talk about the impacts of sequestration. I wanted to make sure they fully understood the impacts to our workforce, our mission and the communities. During the last several weeks, I have received notes and comments about the impacts a 20 percent pay reduction will have on the majority of our workforce. The information you provided was very useful in articulating the real pain that will happen if the furlough goes into effect.

On the day I visited, a bill was passed by the House of Representatives to provide the Department of Defense with a budget for the rest of the year. Many of the Congressmen I visited were hopeful this would start the dialog to reach a budget compromise that would mitigate the need for furloughs.

Your sustainment senior leadership is actively engaging with local community leaders to find ways to support our workforce if furloughs do occur. All facets of the community, to include local charities, state and local governments, businesses, banks, creditors and counselors are looking for ways to mitigate the financial burdens. I have been approached by many banks and businesses that are looking to set up programs that support alternate payment schedules for loans or bill. Our communities are taking a proactive stance to help.

Maybe the most important thing I want to convey...You're not alone and we will get through this difficult time together. If you need help reach out and let someone know. I can't think of anytime where wingman support is more critical and when the network for support is more energized.

Your leadership team will provide updates as events change. Our commitment is to ensure everyone has the best information possible.

Finally, I want you all to know just how proud I am of our professional workforce. We have a tough, demanding mission that is fueled by the innovation, dedication, and motivation of each and every member of our team. Thank you for all you do to keep our nation secure!