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The furloughs of Air Force civilians now in effect "are a measure of last resort" resulting from the across-the-board spending cuts imposed by budget sequestration and "we're sorry this is happening," Air Force Acting Secretary Eric Fanning and Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh told airmen in a message issued on July 8. "We recognize that this action inflicts personal and financial hardships on our civilian airmen and their families," they wrote. "While furloughs have real consequences for civilian airmen, the reduction in productivity and capability resulting from this action will affect all airmen," they stated. Fanning and Welsh reiterated that "with few exceptions," Air Force civilian employees "face involuntary furlough one day per week from the pay period starting July 8 through the pay period ending September 21." They said they'd continue to work with the Defense Department and Congress "to seek repeal of sequestration and an end to the frustration and mission impact it causes." Discussing the furloughs on Monday, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said: "It's unfortunate we're in this period, but we're going to muscle through it best we can." (Includes AFPS report by Jim Garamone)