DoD

February 28, 2013

If sequestration triggers, furloughs begin in late April

Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON (AFNS)  — If sequestration is triggered next week, unpaid furloughs for civilian Defense Department employees will start in late April, Pentagon officials said here today.

Sequestration is a provision in budget law that will trigger major across-the-board spending cuts March 1 unless Congress agrees on an alternative.

DOD Comptroller Robert F. Hale told reporters at a Pentagon news conference that if sequestration happens, the department will cut virtually every program and investment, and that almost all civilian employees will feel the pain.

Jessica L. Wright, the acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said that sequestration and the continuing resolution — a temporary funding measure for the federal government that’s set to expire March 27 — also will have a devastating on military personnel.

“But on our civilians, it will be catastrophic,” she added.

“Everything is going to be affected, should sequestration go in effect,” Wright said. “That’s a guarantee. I think that everybody will be impacted by this action. And I think it’s incumbent upon us to try to ease that where we can.”

The department already has taken actions to alleviate some of the pressures. DOD has slowed spending, instituted a hiring freeze, ordered layoffs for temporary and term employees and cut back base operations and maintenance.

If sequestration hits, this pain will seem minor by comparison. Operations and maintenance funding is the only way to provide the $47 billion in required cuts for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.

Within a year, two-thirds of the Army combat brigade teams will be at unacceptable levels of readiness, Hale said. Most Air Force units not deployed will be at an unsatisfactory readiness level by the end of the year. Navy and Marine Corps readiness also suffer, Hale said.

The process of furloughing civilians began today, with Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta sending notification to Congress. “That starts a 45-day clock ticking, and until that clock has run out, we cannot proceed with furloughs,” Hale explained.

If sequester happens, each employee will be notified. “That starts a 30-day clock — waiting period — before we can take any action,” the comptroller said. “The bottom line is furloughs would not actually start for DOD employees until late April, and we certainly hope that … in the interim, Congress will act to de-trigger sequestration.”

The vast majority of DOD’s almost 800,000 civilian employees will be furloughed, Wright said. DOD civilians in a war zone and political appointees who are confirmed by the Senate will not be furloughed. Nonappropriated fund employees and local national employees will not be affected.

Limited exceptions will be made for the purposes of safety of life and health, Wright said, such as firefighters and police. And if a military hospital has only one neonatal nurse, for example, that person could be exempted, she added.

While military personnel accounts are exempt from sequestration, there will be second- and third-order effects, Wright said. For example, hours at exchanges and commissaries could be affected, and family programs could be reduced or cut. It is unclear at this point how DOD Education Activity schools will be affected.

The spending cuts will affect military health care, as some 40 percent of the personnel working in the system are civilians. Elective surgeries could be delayed or eliminated, and costs cannot be shifted to the TRICARE military health plan, because that program also will be hit by cuts.

Affected employees would be furloughed for 22 discontinuous days — 176 hours — between implementation and the end of fiscal 2013, with no more than 16 furlough hours per pay period.

Fiscal 2013 is just the beginning of a decade of budgetary problems, Hale said.

“The Budget Control Act actually requires that the caps on discretionary funding beyond fiscal ‘13 be lowered for defense by $50 billion to $55 billion a year,” he said. “If those come to pass, then we will have to look at a new defense strategy. That would be the first thing that we’d do.”

The new strategy would accept more risk and also be based on having a smaller military.

For now, officials “devoutly would wish for some budget stability right now,” Hale said. “And I think it would benefit the department and the nation.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
IronMan_pict

Special Operations develops ‘Iron Man’ Suit

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit is cool. But it’s not real. The Tactical Assault Light Operators Suit is cool, too. But it is real and may soon be protecting America’s special operations forces...
 
 

Financial responsibility — vital to readiness

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — In the “Band of Brothers” miniseries, there is a line in the movie where the soldiers are told to make sure they sign up for life insurance to ensure their next-of-kin gets $10,000 upon the soldier’s death. While none of us are about to make a combat jump in 1944 to...
 
 

Lessons learned in protecting social media accounts

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — On a Saturday afternoon in late November, I was informed about a political remark that appeared on my Director of Public Affairs Twitter feed. A staff member called to ask if I was aware of the re-tweet. At the time, I was on leave, out of the state, tending to my daughter...
 

 

Adapt, overcome, succeed

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Change is inevitable, especially in today’s Air Force. If you’ve been serving for more than a few years, it’s likely you’ve experienced everything from new physical fitness requirements to the implementation of force management programs. Enlisted performance reports and feedback forms have been altered and changes to the promotion system are...
 
 

Living in the New Normal

The Military Child Education Coalition, or MCEC, will be hosting Living in the New Normal Institute, Feb. 4-5. LINN-I is a free two-day institute outlining specific community resources, deployment information and practical strategies for encouraging resilience in all children. Some learning outcomes to expect from the training are differentiating affective aspects of children dealing with...
 
 
Training_pict4

Air Force, Army conduct joint service training

U.S. Air Force and Arizona Army National Guard units conducted joint training at a southern Arizona military training range Jan. 20. A-10C Thunderbolt IIs from the 354th Fighter Squadron, based out of D-M, and a UH-60A Black Ha...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin