Sequestration Just Got “Real” For DoD Civilian Employees

Real, as in “your pay is effectively being cut by 20% from July through September”…

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced yesterday that cuts due to sequestration will require DoD to reduce spending for civilian employees in order to meet required budget cuts. Hagel delivered the following message on civilian furloughs:

“As you are fully aware, the Department of Defense is facing a historic shortfall in our budget for the current fiscal year. This is the result of current law that went into effect March 1. It imposes deep across-the-board cuts on DoD and other federal agencies. Combined with higher than expected wartime operating costs, we are now short more than $30 billion in our operation and maintenance (O&M) accounts — which are the funds that we use to pay most civilian employees, maintain our military readiness, and respond to global contingencies.”

“The department has been doing everything possible to reduce this shortfall while ensuring we can defend the nation, sustain wartime operations, and preserve DoD’s most critical asset — our world-class civilian and military personnel. To that end, we have cut back sharply on facilities maintenance, worked to shift funds from investment to O&M accounts, and reduced many other important but non-essential programs.”

“Still, these steps have not been enough to close the shortfall. Each of the military services has begun to significantly reduce training and maintenance of non-deployed operating forces — steps that will adversely impact military readiness. And even these reductions are not enough. Since deeper cuts to training and maintenance could leave our nation and our military exposed in the event of an unforeseen crisis, we have been forced to consider placing the majority of our civilian employees on administrative furlough.”

“After extensive review of all options with the DoD’s senior military and civilian leadership on how we address this budget crisis, today I am announcing that I have decided to direct furloughs of up to 11 days for most of the department’s civilian personnel. I have made this decision very reluctantly, because I know that the furloughs will disrupt lives and impact DoD operations. I recognize the significant hardship this places on you and your families.”

“After required notifications, we will begin the furlough period on July 8 at the rate of one furlough day per week for most personnel. We plan to continue these furloughs through the end of the current fiscal year. If our budgetary situation permits us to end furloughs early, I would strongly prefer to do so. That is a decision I will make later in the year.”

“Furloughs for 11 days represent about half of the number we had originally planned, reflecting the department’s vigorous efforts to meet our budgetary shortfalls through actions other than furlough. There will be exceptions driven by law and by the need to minimize harm to the execution of our core missions. For example, all employees deployed or temporarily assigned to a combat zone will be excepted from furloughs.”

Maybe some sense of urgency on budget negotiations will precede the actual implementation of these cutbacks, but as Sen. John McCain tells The Washington Post, “Nobody seems to care. It’s amazing. It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve seen in the years I’ve been in the Senate.”

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  • Commander_Chico

    From what I’ve seen, most DOD civilian employees should have their pay cut 20%.

    Usually they have sweet deals. Some like to shit on uniformed personnel. Think of the “MWR Coordinator,” base housing people, or the various GS-12 “program assistants” on major staffs. 9 to 5 while uniformed staff work 7 to 7.

  • jim_m

    Maybe some sense of urgency on budget negotiations will precede the actual implementation of these cutbacks

    Given the recent news there is a great deal of credibility to the argument that any cutbacks are being done to cause as much pain as possible to the nation and not to minimize the reduction in government services.

    I would also wager that the number of union workers effected is minimal if not zero.

  • herddog505

    Doug JohnsonSen. John McCain tells the Washington Post, “Nobody seems to care. It’s amazing. It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve seen in the years I’ve been in the Senate.”

    What, it’s amazing that members of the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body – the people who can find time to investigate steroids in baseball – hasn’t got time to actually govern? That they’ve got all they can handle spending the money without going through the clearly unnecessary hassle of passing an actual budget? That the lives of livelihoods of average Americans – even DoD employees – means exactly jack sh*t to them so long as they can funnel money to their home constituencies, which is to say into their own campaign funds?

    Yosemite Sam grousing about the Senate not doing their job is like Bill Clinton grousing about people not telling the truth. That pack of wardheelers and courthouse loafers haven’t done their jobs in years, being content to hold “hearings” that give them nothing but an excuse to grandstand while leaving the hard decisions (and accountability) to whoever is in the White House, or else to unnamed and unaccountable civil servants.

  • GarandFan

    Hey Chuck! How about knocking off buying that “green” fuel @$50+ per gallon, and just buy the cheap stuff everyone else does?

    How about ONE camo pattern instead of TEN?

    Where did all those “savings” go on the wind-down in Iraq and Afghanistan?

    • jim_m

      Oh, you must be referring to the Navy’s blue and grey camo Working Uniforms, the ones that the Navy itself admits are not really for camouflage. I mean, what was the intent here? If they fall overboard we want them to be HARDER to find?

      • Heard one sailor comment that if they really wanted camo they should have made them gray and rust.

        I think it was the fault of the Marines – they came out first with the digital camo, and every other service (perhaps even the Coast Guard?) decided digital was the way to go, but they had to be DISTINCTIVE.

        So I thought we’d have one pattern per service, maybe two or three for Army and Marines. And the AF one isn’t even intended for combat.

        Altogether we’ve got 15 or so different camo patterns for the US military – and others. And the Navy itself has 5 of those.

        Good lord…. I’ll bet the folks in Supply are cussing something fierce.

        • Commander_Chico

          1. Damn you for leading me to that wiki, you wasted twenty minutes of my life.

          2. I’ve long suspected the most blatant corruption in the military uniform boards, maybe especially the Navy’s. How else to you explain the use of flammable synthetics in Navy uniforms? There were guys who were horribly burned and shink-wrapped in polyester in the USS Stark and other shipboard fires.

          • Hopefully it wasn’t a total loss of 20 minutes, lol…

            Agree with you on the flammables in Navy uniforms. The problem is that synthetics are cheaper than wools or cottons and when it comes to uniforms, Cheap=Good since you’re gonna need so damn many of the things. Save a couple of bucks per, and you’re talking quite a savings in your budget. And aramid-based fabrics like Nomex are more expensive in bulk than wool – but I gotta admit, I don’t see why a lightweight Nomex blend uniform isn’t mandated for shipboard use.

          • Commander_Chico

            Not a total waste – the Aussie camo uniform is known as “hearts and bunnies” because that is what the pattern looks like.

            The only charitable explanation was that polyester does not wrinkle like cotton.

            The Navy has had fire-resistant cotton and Nomex coveralls for years, I am also mystified why they aren’t the underway working uniform.

        • jim_m

          I’m so relieved to see that the Navy has both “woodland” and “Desert” camo patterns available. I’m sure they find them very useful.

          My understanding is that the navy likes their new camo “Working Uniform” since it doesn’t show wrinkles or stains. I suppose there must be some figure on what they are saving on the laundry bill then.

          • Commander_Chico

            Sometimes Navy people work on land. Like, uh, the SEALs.

            There have been all kinds of Navy people deployed to combined and joint staffs and Army civil affairs units in the wars.

            They are known as “Individual augmentees.”


          • jim_m

            The army already had camo patterns for those circumstances. It was idiotic for the navy to demand different ones. They are supposed to be on the same team.

          • I don’t know – the “Dessert” camo sounds like something you’d need for a Pie Fight in the mess hall.

            And like Chico said, Navy folks deploy all over the place. (My father, for example, went to his radar school in Kansas in WW2. Of course, back then they didn’t have all these camo uniforms as such…)

          • Commander_Chico

            BTW, I agree with you about the Marines being responsible for the current chaos. In 2003, all the services were on Woodland and DCU. The DCU was a great desert cammie.

            Then the Marines had to be special with their little globes-and-anchors printed into the digital patterns.

            The real debacle was the Army adopting the ACU, which tried to be everything and did nothing well. Now they are replacing that, too.

          • jim_m

            As I mention to Chico, it seems that the Army already had camo patterns for land circumstances. Why should the navy have different ones? Are they somehow forbidden from using the same sourcing?

            Oh, and thanks for the catch. Another example of how spell check is not your friend.

          • “Why should the navy have different ones?”

            Cooties. They’re not ‘Navy’ camo.

            Seriously – they’re not ‘Navy’. The higher-ups tend to be rather parochial about their ‘territory’. So in the past you’ve had radios that didn’t share operational frequencies so the different services couldn’t exactly talk to each other – each service having their own assigned bands which were the ‘right’ ones and they were damned if they were going to share their airspace with those other service pukes.

            (There were probably regulations against it, to be fair.)

            But it’s kind of translated down to a “We’re not them, so we can’t look like them or act like them or share equipment with them.” sort of mentality. There’s a few common uniform items – socks and underwear come to mind immediately, and of course ribbons and medals – but the Navy’s look is different than the AF and Army.

            That ties into the whole ‘service identity’ thing, too. If you don’t maintain a distinct image, someone in DC might mistake your branch for a different one, and if you aren’t visually distinct how can you justify your existence?

            (We’ve already established that a lot of the folks in DC aren’t exactly the brightest bulbs in the hall, so to speak. And I wouldn’t trust more than about half of them to be able to tell the difference between the various armed forces without considerable prompting. And while we’re at it, Obama using a Marine in full dress uniform to hold an umbrella for him the other day… that’s just wrong. That’s what his civilian staff is for.)

          • Commander_Chico

            Apart from the mixed blue gray Navy Working uniform, the Navy stuck with the Woodland and DCU they had back in 2003.

            It was the Army that changed their combat cammies, and now they are changing them again.

          • jim_m

            (We’ve already established that a lot of the folks in DC aren’t exactly the brightest bulbs in the hall

            Yeah. “Cooties” might have even been giving them too much credit. I understand the “why” of it all and that understanding leads me to think that the whole thing is an idiotic waste. Paying Chico’s pension is a better use of the money (and that says a lot).

    • retired.military

      The army has stated that they don’t need any more M1 Abrams Main battle tanks. Yet they continue to get at least 4 a month. The reason is that the parts which make up the M1 Abrams are manufactured throughout the US ensuring that Senators and Representatives from both parties have a stake in these tanks continuing to be made.

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