Department of Defense budget constraints due to the automatic sequester cuts have forced the cancellation of the 2013 'Defenders of Liberty Air Show' at Barksdale Air Force Base. The show was scheduled to take flight May 4th and 5th.
Earlier in the week the Air Force announced the suspension of its tuition assistance program for continuing education. Barksdale Air Force Base also faces the possibility of civilian furloughs and reductions in flight crew training time.
In shifting from a planning phase to execution phase this week Barksdale made the decision to cancel the air show due to the lack of a budget agreement.
"We had to make a decision and based on the current budgetary constraints the department of defense is facing, we had to make hard decisions, and due to the budgetary constraints we had to cancel the air show," says Barksdale Air Show Director, Major Warren Carroll.
According to Executive Director and President of the Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation, Rocky Rockett, a study recently commissioned by the Shreveport Bossier Military Affairs Council found the annual impact of the air show to be $5 million dollars.
"This is one of the shows, one of the weekends we kind of count on as one of our economic drivers in the area and it's unfortunate that this has occurred," says Rockett.
If a budget agreement is reached in the short term Barksdale says because of the complicated nature of coordinating the moving parts of an air show they will not be ready to move forward in 2013.