The Army is implementing an agency-wide hiring freeze with few exceptions, according to a Jan. 22 memo.
Thomas Lamont, assistant Army secretary for manpower and reserve affairs, also instructed agency officials to terminate temporary employees and not to extend the appointments of term employees.
“No new tentative or firm job offers of civilian employment will be extended after the date of this memorandum,” Lamont wrote. “This hiring freeze will remain in effect until revoked in writing by me.” Job offers extended before Jan. 22 will be honored, according to the memo, provided new hires have a specific date of employment.
Employees exempted from the personnel actions include those with mission-critical jobs, civilians deployed in theater operations, employees directly supporting Wounded Warrior programs and substance abuse counselors, among others.
The Army issued separate guidance on Jan. 16 that includes a framework for furloughs, if they become necessary. The guidance says the agency can furlough employees up to 22 discontinuous work days, but should not begin furloughs before April 16. A furlough of more than 30 calendar days, or of more than 22 discontinuous work days, is considered a reduction-in-force, according to the Office of Personnel Management.
Furloughed workers would be forced to take off one day per week until the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told reporters Friday, according to the Associated Press. The Army employs roughly 280,000 civilian workers.
Lamont’s memo also addressed recruitment. “Internal recruitment actions that are limited to current Army employees may continue with an area of consideration no wider than the local commuting area associated with the position in question,” it said.
The memo comes as no surprise. Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the Pentagon would begin to take “prudent measures” to prepare for possible budget cuts due to sequestration and an anticipated fight over funding for the rest of the fiscal year. At the time, Panetta said those precautions would include a civilian hiring freeze, delaying some contract awards and trimming non-essential facilities maintenance. The Pentagon also is eliminating 46,000 civilian temp jobs, according to the Associated Press.