On the eve of automatic military budget cuts, Fort Campbell's garrison commander says the installation's 8,000 civilian employees could face up to 22 unpaid days off this year.
Col. David L. "Buck" Dellinger said Fort Campbell's leaders are making budget decisions sometimes on an hourly basis to prepare for $55 million in budget cuts scheduled to take effect on Friday.
"We're out of management criteria right now. We're leading," Dellinger said. "Management is continuing to do what the bureaucracy has done and comfortable in doing. And leading is adapting to the changes."
The installation plans to host a series of town hall meetings in the coming days with staff and soldiers.
"And every bit of this is on order. So while we're planning, we've not made a decision to do this," Dellinger said.
Furloughed employees would receive 30 days notice.
And if lawmakers strike a deal any time, the post could easily reverse course.
"There are challenges. There's no doubt there are challenges," Dellinger said. "They get this is coming - that this is potential, that they could lose some pay due to the furlough - but in general, there are questions about, 'Well, how can I still get the mission done?'"
Dellinger said they have to balance providing training for thousands of soldiers who are preparing to deploy to Afghanistan this year, while finding savings in areas like civilian employee salaries, maintenance and other operating costs.
The Pentagon faces a $46 billion budget reduction through the end of September and has warned that some 800,000 U.S. civilians stand to be furloughed without pay for up to 22 days.
Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.