UPDATED: DOD reduces furlough days

dollar question

UPDATE: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has publicly confirmed that the Defense Department will reduce the number of furlough days that civilian personnel will be required to take, from 22 to 14.

Original story:

The Defense Department could reduce the number of furlough days for civilian personnel, as ongoing analysis of the continuing resolution shows that it provides more spending flexibility.

As of now, the CR does not completely eliminate the need for furloughs, but a reduction in the projected number of furlough days appears to be a possibility, defense officials said March 27. However, a spokesman said the Department is not yet committed to any course of action.

"The full range of options is on the table," said George Little, Pentagon spokesman. "Our current stand is that we are going to have to take a look still at the prospect of furloughs. I'm not prepared to say we are going to zero. I'm not going to say we are going to depart from our current plan, either."

In contrast to Little's non-committal response, the AP reports that the number of furlough days will decrease from the planned 22 days to 14, and that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made the decision March 27.

DOD officials on March 21 announced they would delay issuing furlough notices as the CR neared passage. While the Pentagon still faces $46 billion in cuts to be made this fiscal year under sequestration, the CR allocates an additional $10 billion to DOD coffers and offers officials some flexibility in where cuts are made.

The furloughs, as initially planned, would force civilian DOD workers to take one unpaid day of absence per week for 22 weeks, resulting in a 20 percent pay cut for that period of time.

Furlough notices were slated to go out around March 22, with the work stoppages to begin in late April. Cmdr. Leslie Hull-Ryde, Pentagon spokeswoman, last week told FCW that furlough notices now are expected to be issued around April 5. A reduction in the number of furlough days could push back that issue date – and resultant furlough start date – even further.

Little emphasized that nothing is certain yet, as Pentagon officials continue to examine the CR's impact on DOD spending. However, he assured reporters at the Pentagon that once he received official word from Hagel, he would make an announcement.

"We're looking at a number of options inside the additional money we received as a result of the continuing resolution," Little said. "I can't say at this point that we are going to forego furloughs altogether, and I can't say at this stage that we're going to amend our expected policy to furlough civilian employees."

About the Author

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

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Government Cyber Insider tracks the technologies, policies, threats and emerging solutions that shape the cybersecurity landscape.


Reader comments

Mon, Apr 1, 2013 Chari Lewis Washington

14 days is TOO MUCH-that is still my mortgage payment. That is probably some congressman's social spending for the weekend..who isn't the least concerned with anyones furlough issues..Dig deeper folks..there are more hidious spending areas to cut from..

Mon, Apr 1, 2013 Paul Hampton VA

still blinded by the words and not the facts. There is no cut to the budget. They just got a smaller increase in spending. They have more money this year then last year. No need to sequester. no need to have this chicken little mantalety.

Sat, Mar 30, 2013

The person that made the comments about DOD furloughs being a good thing or "reasonable" does not understand basic economics, cash flows, and creation/sustainment of jobs. DOD creates jobs across all sectors of our country. These dollars flow back into the people that pay taxes (which recycle into the community), merchants, and DOD recipients of these dollars as they re-spend it to keep the economy moving. Think about Lowes, food services, construction workers from home projects, clothing stores, etc. It only hurts them if we lose 20% and we do not buy for 4-5 months. Sales go down, stock prices go down from decreased sales. This guy really doesn't understand cash flows and how it is just one big cash recycling machine that benefits everyone in the food chain. For example, Norfolk's entire economy is built off the DOD dollar as well as many other military cities that have a large base infrastructure. IF DOD pulls out of a major area, the economy will collapse. Look at Flint Michigan and the auto industry and what happened when they pulled out. One disturbance in cash flows affects everyone in that area. I happen to work for DOD (civilian) and work on average 60 hours a week and get paid for only 40 hrs. I have worked 70-80 hr work weeks when we need to surge. Most of the DOD is committed to a greater calling to protect our men and women serving in the military. Some of use even work on federal holidays and do not get reimbursed. You should never let you guard down. Furloughing the DOD for political reasons (Feuding between congress and the President) is just wrong and it will hurt both parties come congressional reelection time and presidential reelection as they have thrown each other under the bus.

Fri, Mar 29, 2013

You people are too damn civil. If they furlough you, you get off your butts and mas-protest in front of the capital! If GS takes a hit so does everybody else...Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, vets, contactors, grandma, food stamp recipients...Everybody onto the table for the grand bargain cuts.

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 Ron

Wonder what happens to the money we have already in the bank for projects that have deadlines along with built in overtime to make the deadline we get no overtime and a cut in hours? Do we give the projects up to a contractor to do at a higher cost and get a "Take it or leave it" product? Do we default on the contract giving the government (DoD) another black eye since we can't get anything done right (even though it is our CEO and board of directors that are the issue)?

I know some contractors are licking their lips and saying it is reasonable we get furloughed, but as some of our contractors who were due for new contracts have found out, the brown stuff flows to you too and your bosses will not take a hit, you will, and you have a lot more to lose.

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