Next Year’s Defense Furlough Prospects Uncertain

Defense Department

Defense Department officials are bracing themselves for the possibility of additional furloughs or job losses in fiscal 2014 if budget sequestration continues.

A civilian employee at a town hall meeting on Tuesday asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel if the future would provide a respite from adverse moves forced by budget cuts. Hagel said he had “some confidence” in a deal emerging between the White House and Congress, but added that he could not “run an operation” based on hope.

“I can't guarantee you that we're not going to be in some kind of a similar situation next year,” Hagel said. He added that his efforts were currently focused on getting Defense through the current fiscal year.

Hagel told the crowd at the Mark Center in Alexandria, Va., that the department would begin implementing 11 furlough days for civilians on July 8. In a memo later sent to senior Defense officials, furlough exemptions were granted to several classes of workers, including shipyard workers, some personnel funded through the National Intelligence Program, and public health and safety personnel.

Senior Defense officials echoed Hagel’s comments during a background briefing with reporters on Tuesday to further discuss civilian furloughs. The officials said they would “do [their] darndest to avoid” furloughs and possible reductions in force in fiscal 2014, but were unsure about the coming months.

“I sure hope we don't, personally, but I understand we can't know the future fully,” the official said.

Defense Comptroller Robert Hale in late-March told participants at a webinar hosted by the Association of Government Accountants and the American Society of Military Comptrollers that Defense would be forced to look at “involuntary separations” and other “longer term choices” to help meet budget requirements if lawmakers couldn’t agree on an alternative to sequestration.  He wanted to avoid furloughs and implement cuts “with more of a scalpel and less of a meat ax.”

He added: “We’ll have to get smaller and we’ll have to look at some areas where we can take some more risk, get rid of more overhead and make a lot of other tough decisions, but we’re not just going to have a repeat of this mess.”

Other parties, including members of Congress, have become increasingly concerned about the prospect of longer-term sequestration. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., recently told Defense News that he did not expect a broader fiscal deal before the August recess. 

Sens. Carl Levin D-Mich. and Jim Inhofe R-Okla. wrote a letter to Hagel demanding a “package of reductions” by July that would allow the department to cut $52 billion in fiscal 2014, as required by the 2011 Budget Control Act.

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
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

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