Air Force installations and local defense industry leaders are nervously waiting for the second sequestration shoe to drop.
Even as civilian employees take furloughs, Air Force Academy cadets get fewer hot meals and airplanes stay on the ground, a bigger financial hit looms, bringing more than $50 billion in additional Pentagon sequestration cuts starting Oct. 1.
Pentagon leaders warned Congress last week that the additional budget cuts, and ongoing budget uncertainty, were eroding the military's ability to fight.
"It is the responsibility of our nation's leaders to work together to replace the mindless and irresponsible police of sequestration," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday during a Pentagon briefing.
Sequestration cut nearly $50 billion from Pentagon spending in 2013 and would cut $500 billion from Pentagon coffers over 10 years.
But, with a new fiscal year less than two months away, Defense Department leaders haven't issued detailed plans for cuts that seem certain to come in 2014.
That is the product of standoff between Congress and the White House that has resulted in several years of budgetary brinkmanship. In a last-minute deal to avert debt default in 2010, lawmakers agreed on automatic sequestration cuts if they couldn't reach an accord on a plan to cut the federal deficit.
But a deficit deal never came, triggering the cuts this year. And unless Congress can find an agreeable alternative, there are more cuts to come.
But what those cuts will look like is a mystery.
"We haven't received our official figure for FY (fiscal year) 14," said Monica Pitel, the number two financial manager at Air Force Space Command in Colorado Springs.
If sequestration stays, the command will need to cut more than $500 million from its books starting in October - just like it had to this year.
Pitel warned that 2014's cuts, though, will have a cumulative impact.
"As you take out maintenance dollars, things are going to break," she said.
Andy Merritt, who oversees military affairs for the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance has been trying to woo defense contractors to the Pikes Peak region, but the uncertain financial picture is making it a tough sell.
"They wish to get some solid direction for what's going to happen," Merritt said. "Unknowns are killing them."
What's known is that the first round of cuts have hit area bases hard.
At the Air Force Academy airfield, flying hours have been cut by about 15 percent. The number of cadets in flying programs has been reduced.
"That's a balance you have to make," said Col. Joe Rizzuto, who commands the 306th Flying Training Group at the academy.
At Mitchell Hall, the massive cadet dining facility, cadets must bus tables because of budget cuts.
The academy prided itself for decades on serving all 4,000 cadets simultaneously at meals. Not now.
"The breakfasts are going to be buffet-style," said Col. Stacey Hawkins, commander of the academy's 10th Air Base Wing.
Col. Mike Pipan, who oversees military training programs at the academy, said upper class cadets are dealing with travel cuts that limited their time at other Air Force bases for summer training.
Freshmen are impacted, too. Basic training was shortened by a day to work around civilian worker furloughs.
Cuts at Space Command include reducing the operational hours of powerful space-searching radars in a bid to save electricity.
Pitel said the command also has slashed contracts, cutting as much as 50 percent of the money spent on services including maintenance, consultants and custodial work.
She said Space Command has held hours of meetings to examine potential cuts for 2014, but hasn't settled on specifics.
El Paso County Commissioner Dennis Hisey said the region will start to feel the full weight of 2013's cuts in August, when thousands of civilian workers bring home paychecks thinned by furlough days.
Hisey said the military is responsible for as much as 40 percent of the region's economy.
Colorado Springs City Council President Keith King said the military's financial woes are driving home another reality: The region must ease its addiction to Pentagon cash.
He wants to see a more diverse economy, less reliant on defense.
But "the military will continue to be a big part of Colorado Springs," King said.