DoD

May 17, 2013

Hagel announces fewer furlough days for DOD employees

Nick Simeone and Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. — After weeks of review, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has concluded budget cuts will require most of the department’s civilian employees to be furloughed beginning in July, but that because of other efforts to deal with the shortfall, only half of the 22 days originally envisioned as temporary layoffs will now be necessary.

During a town hall meeting May 14 at the Mark Center in Alexandria, Va., Hagel told Defense Department employees that most will be required to take 11 furlough days beginning July 8, one per week, through the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30.

In a statement, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III explained the service’s efforts to reduce impacts of sequestration on personnel, but furloughs will be unavoidable.

“While the Air Force and Department of Defense have made every effort to minimize impacts to readiness and people, the resource choices we have available are now very limited, and we’ve reached the point where we simply can’t avoid furloughs,” they said.

In a memo to senior department leaders, Hagel said he had “very reluctantly” concluded that major budgetary shortfalls triggered by a $37 billion cut in defense spending for fiscal 2013 forced a decision he said he deeply regrets, and one that he acknowledged will disrupt lives and impact DOD operations. However, he credited congressional passage of a defense appropriation bill in March in part for helping to reduce from the number of days civilians would be temporarily laid off by half.

It may be possible later in the year to “knock that back” to an even lower number, the secretary said, but he emphasized that he could not promise such an outcome.

“As Secretary Hagel stated, the Department of Defense will decide later this year whether our budgetary situation permits us to end furloughs early,” Donley and Welsh stated. “In the meantime, we will keep working to prevent actions which will further impact our people and Air Force missions.”

Hagel said the furloughs will affect every military department and almost every agency, with limited exceptions. “We will except civilians deployed to combat zones and civilians necessary to protect life and property,” he wrote in his memo, adding that others will be excepted if forcing them to stay off the job would not free up money for other needs.

Regardless of the exceptions, Donley and Welsh stressed how much the Air Force will be impacted due to the essential role that civilian Airmen play in ensuring a strong and ready force.

“Our civilian Airmen are critical to everything we do,” they said. “We simply could not be the world’s greatest Air Force without (the civilian Airmen). During this challenging time, we want you to know how much we appreciate your service. We also want you to know we will continue to look for every possible way to minimize furloughs and to prevent further any other actions that would affect you and your family in negative ways. Thank you for the great professionalism you continue to bring to the job every day. We’re proud to stand beside you.”

The Air Force’s top two leaders said they hoped furloughs could be avoided entirely, but they noted these unprecedented times have called for tough decisions.

“This is something we had hoped to avoid,” Donley and Welsh wrote. “We recognize the significant impact this action will have on our civilian Airmen, their families and our mission. But the unprecedented budget choices we’ve faced during this extraordinary year have forced painful decisions to avoid further degradation in our missions.”

Employees set to be furloughed will begin receiving written notification May 28 to June 5.




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


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis

Red Flag offers B-52 crews training that ‘can’t be beat’

U.S. Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis A B-52 Stratofortress assigned to the 69th Bomb Squadon, Minot Air Force Base, N.D., taxis for take off during Red Flag 15-3 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 15. T...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikaley Towle

‘Thunder’ rolls at Fort Irwin

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikaley Towle Airmen assigned to the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., look on as an A-10 Thunderbolt II departs from the National Training Center at Fort I...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Alex R. Lloyd

Hill activates their first F-35 fighter squadron

U.S. Air Force photo by Alex R. Lloyd Lt. Col. George R. Watkins addresses the audience and squadron members during the 34th Fighter Squadron activation ceremony July 17 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The 34th FS will be the fir...
 

 

Nellis celebrates successful Vacation Bible School

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The Nellis Chapel has done it again with the 18th and best year of Vacation Bible School ever. This year’s theme of Science, provided by Gospel Light’s Son Sparks Labs, proved to be engaging and fun for all 192 children and volunteers. Discovering the light of God in a...
 
 

The unseen leader

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho — Over the years, I’ve seen many leaders come and go. The ones I admired, I took note of the traits I wished I had, as well as the ones I already possessed. It took me a long time to realize some of my personal and professional weaknesses were...
 
 

Donald Rumsfeld visits Nellis

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Kleinholz Former United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld interacts with a service member during a book signing and meet-and-greet at the Base Exchange, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 16, 2015. Rumsfeld is the youngest and oldest individual ever to sit in the Defense Secretary position,...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>