Senator Suggests Cuts to Avoid Pentagon Furloughs

Sue Ogrocki/AP file photo

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., called for the Pentagon to eliminate “unnecessary” jobs and programs in an effort to avoid furloughing “essential personnel,” should sequestration take effect March 1.

The ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee pointed to eight Defense employees who serve on the Board of Geographic Names -- responsible for naming topographic features across the county -- and a 46-minute cooking program the Pentagon produced with the Agriculture Department as areas that should be cut.

“Before any of these more drastic actions are taken, there are a number of ways the Pentagon could achieve savings that don’t harm our national security readiness or our troops or DoD personnel from performing vital military functions,” Coburn wrote in a letter to Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

Coburn made his suggestions as part of an ongoing campaign to seek alternative cuts in place of forced, unpaid vacation for civilian Defense employees. The lawmaker previously recommended issuing a federal hiring freeze and cancelling a multi-agency, 100-city tour to promote grants to reach post-sequestration budget levels. 

The job and program cuts build on a report Coburn issued in November titled “Department of Everything: Department of Defense Spending That Has Little to Do With National Security,” which identified almost $68 billion in possible savings over ten years.  Additionally in his letter, Coburn suggested saving $1 million by scrapping research on how to send a vessel to another solar system.

“We can no longer afford such out-of-this-world spending if we hope to ensure our national security needs,” Coburn wrote.

Coburn’s $68 billion in savings falls well short of the roughly $600 billion the Pentagon would have to slash over ten years, should sequestration go into effect. Sequestration would require Defense to cut $42.7 billion in the remainder of fiscal 2013.

“Civilian furloughs are necessary” to meet that target by September -- the end of the fiscal year -- Lt. Col. Elizabeth Robbins, a Pentagon spokeswoman, told Government Executive. “I don’t believe any of [Coburn’s] ideas can be implemented immediately. This is not something we want to do; this is something Congress forced on us.” 

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.