Michael J. Pausic / Air Force
Jamie Morin, acting undersecretary of the Air Force, speaks at an Air Force Association breakfast in Arlington, Va., Jan. 15. A memo written by Morin and Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry Spencer said that civilian furloughs of up to 30 calender days are possible.
(AIR FORCE TIMES) -- Civilian employees will be among the first to feel the belt-tightening as the
Defense Department prepares for the likelihood of severe budget reductions this
The Air Force, Army and Navy are freezing civilian hiring, laying off
temporary workers and considering furloughs for hundreds of thousands of
civilian employees, according to memos from leaders of all three branches of the
"Civilian pay makes up a large share of our operating budget and we have been
directed to consider the possibility of civilian furloughs up to 30 calendar
days or 22 discontinuous workdays," wrote Gen. Larry Spencer, the Air Force's
vice chief of staff, and Jamie Morin, the service's acting under secretary, in a
the Jan. 14 memo to leaders of all major commands.
In a similar memo, Rear Adm. J.P. Mulloy, deputy assistant secretary for
budget, told Navy commanders the furloughs, if carried out, would occur one day
per week beginning the week of April 16 and lasting through the end of the
fiscal year on Sept. 30.
"If implemented, civilian furloughs will be centrally managed and will be a
governmentwide effort with limited exceptions," Mulloy wrote in the Jan. 14
The Defense Logistics Agency formally notified its union Jan. 16 that unpaid
furloughs of up to 22 days for virtually all civilian staff may be needed
between April and the end of the fiscal year.
The wave of memos comes less than a week after Deputy Defense Secretary
Ashton Carter told the department leaders Jan. 10 to plan for the possibility of
a yearlong continuing resolution that would generally leave 2013 spending frozen
at last year's levels, as well as for across-the-board budget cuts set to take
effect at the beginning of March assuming that Congress and the Obama
administration don't strike a deal to head them off. The cuts, formally known as
sequestration, would take about 9 percent out of most Defense Department
accounts by the end of the fiscal year in September, according to an analysis by
the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a private think tank on
defense issues. Military personnel would be exempted.
"If we did not act now, the scale of reductions required should sequestration
be triggered on March 1 or the department were left under a yearlong continuing
resolution would be even more devastating for readiness," Spencer and Morin
Should sequestration occur, however, "immediate actions with serious negative
impacts to core readiness programs will be required," the memo said.
As of September, the Air Force had 171,000 civilian employees, the about Army
277,000 and the Navy almost 200,000, according to the most recent Office of
Personnel Management data.
At DLA, with a civilian workforce of more than 25,000, furloughs "may be
necessary" for all employees except those deployed "in support of contingency
operations in the [Central Command] area of responsibility," Brad Bunn, the
agency's human resources director, wrote in a Jan. 16 letter to the president of
the American Federation of Government Employees council that represents many
workers there. DLA also is considering other measures "to mitigate harmful
effects to current DLA employees" resulting from budget uncertainties, Bunn
added without elaborating.
Sean Reilly, Air Force Times