Budget

DOD delays furloughs

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The Defense Department has decided to delay the issue of furlough notices pending an assessment of budget legislation currently making its way through Congress.

Notices to DOD civilian employees were due to go out as soon as this week, with furloughs to begin in late April. Those notices now will be pushed back by at least two weeks, according to George Little, Pentagon spokesman. Versions of the continuing resolution have passed both houses of Congress. The government could shut down on March 27 if it does not become law by then.

"This delay will allow the department to carefully analyze the impact of pending continuing resolution legislation on the department's resources," Little said in a released statement. "We have not made any decisions on whether or not the total number of planned furlough days for fiscal 2013 will change as a result of this delay."

DOD officials estimate furlough notices will go out around April 5, Navy Cmdr. Leslie Hull-Ryde, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said in a Pentagon release. While the proposed spending bill could change the way in which furloughs could be carried out, she cautioned that nothing is certain.

"The legislation could have some impact on the overall number of furlough days, but no decisions have been reached, especially since the legislation hasn’t been signed into law," Hull-Ryde said. "The number of furlough days at this point remains at 22."

The furloughs were officially announced on Feb. 20 when Pentagon leadership notified Congress of plans to furlough nearly 800,000 DOD civilian employees, launching a mandated 45-day countdown to when the furloughs could begin. The furloughs are part of $46 billion in cuts leveled on the military as part of sequestration.

The new spending bill may offer DOD officials some flexibility in how those cuts are made. While the amount will not change, the legislation adds more than $10 billion to operations and maintenance accounts that are quickly dwindling, leading to reduced training, flying time, steaming days and other military activities that top officials warned could hinder readiness.

The delay now buys Pentagon officials some time to determine how the obligated funding will most effectively be spent, sources said.

"We believe the delay is a responsible step to take in order to assure our civilian employees that we do not take lightly the prospect of furloughs and the resulting decrease in employee pay," Little said.

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Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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Reader comments

Fri, Mar 29, 2013

@ RyanStar. In my original post I said this will happen 7 more times. I can't count. It will happen 8 more times. $109B/year from 2014 through 2021 (only $85B for this year), unless the president and congress agree to do something else. Cut and paste this link from the Wahsington Post for a good high level (and depressing) rundown of how it will happen and what/who it will affect. We're in for a very long and painful decade as fed employees unless the president and congress start working together to do something more intelligent. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/20/the-sequester-absolutely-everything-you-could-possibly-need-to-know-in-one-faq/

Mon, Mar 25, 2013

People plan for retirement and quite possibility the economy of the past 12 years has extended their target date. The real issue is how we feel a part of something when elected government continues to get raises and plays with our future. I would be able to stand taller if those officials would announce "We are all in this and we are going to take a %20 pay cut for the rest of the year also". As a result of this bundling mess all elected officials should change come election time, because evidently we have no great leadership if they can't pull together and represent all of the citizens instead of their political parties or self-worth!

Mon, Mar 25, 2013 RyanStar

I did not realize that it can happen 7 more times.

Mon, Mar 25, 2013

They could have simply stopped them earlier if the new budget affected the number of days required. Now we are back in limbo, uncertain what's going happen, and now we have to think that if the number is still 22, then at some point, we're going to get hit with a multi-day furlough week, and even lower paycheck for that time period. Thanks for continuing the uncertainty, when the one hope we had was that we'd finally know the impact.

Sat, Mar 23, 2013

It will not be 20 days. Being one of the people facing the furlough, the extended period will add to the 1 day off every week. DoD employees could face more days off if the delay is extended again. They will have to have the 22 days off in a shorter amount of time.

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