Fewer furlough days could be needed if spending bill passes, DoD official says


About halfway through this American Forces Press Service story today, Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall tosses out an observation likely to catch the attention of Defense Department civilian employees. Although furloughs will still take place even if a fiscal 2013 spending bill now in Congress wins approval, fewer furlough days could be needed,  the story paraphrases Kendall as saying at a conference.

Currently, DoD plans to furlough most of its approximately 800,000 workers for 22 days between April 25 and the rest of the fiscal year as the result of the sequester-related spending cuts that began this month. But as Federal Times reported this week, the FY13 bill is likely to shift $10.4 billion into the Pentagon’s operations and maintenance account that covers most civilian salaries (and a lot of other things).

A Pentagon spokeswoman had no other details this afternoon, saying the legislation has to pass first.





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  1. Anthony A. Merkel on

    I predict that once the DOD sees the cash from the CR that they will cut the number of days for Feds., to be furloughed down to 11.

  2. What absolute rubbish! It should be a crime for any appointed official to make any kind of veiled hint regarding the pending furloughs for DOD employees.

    The best case going forth is 22 work days in a furlough status through 30 Sept 13 with the following 9 years also having 22 days, but spread through the year, making for 4 full pay periods with the rest having one day without pay (an effective pay cut around 9%–closer to 10% when lost leave accrual is considered).

    This assumes the congress actually passes a budget or CR that the president will sign. That is no guarantee. Indefinite furloughs would otherwise begin on 28 MArch.

  3. With passage of continuing resolution and the additional flexibility that brings to DoD, furlough days may be reduced or even possibly eliminated in some cases. It seems the Air Force is out front in stating this may alleviate the need for furloughs (to include possible cancellation of furloughs). This is based on Joint Chiefs of Staff testimony to Congress. Several news periodicals have reported on this.

    “The Air Force’s chief of staff said last week that the bill could let his service cancel civilian furloughs in 2013, but Hale said DoD is not yet willing to adopt that prediction for the department as a whole until a bill is actually passed and signed.”

  4. Excerpt from Air Force chief of staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III testimony before Congress:

    “Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Air Force chief of staff, said HR 933 would make a “huge” difference to his service, allowing reprogramming of budget dollars to mitigate sequestration’s impact.
    “In a big way,” Welsh said, “it allows us to look at our civilian work force and figure out a way around this idea of furloughing…180,000 great civilian airmen. We want no part of that.””

  5. The foreign intelligence community is pretty excited that all of these folks with clearances will suddenly be in financial stress. It sure makes their job easier to recruit spies for their governments. At least they pay a reliable salary!

  6. This furlough is going to hurt alot of disabled vets who proudly get up and go to work every day. We’ve not had pay raises in years with no end in sight. I can’t take a20% chop and still pay for everything.

  7. I came to my gov job w/20+ yrs of private sector experience, taking bigger than a 50% cut in pay, in order to give back to my country. Why should I have to be furloughed to save the gov money when the gov is sending millions to foreign govs that absolutely hate us. Get the funds from the sources that shouldn’t be getting it to begin with—despicable and disgraceful behavior toward our gov workers.

  8. Grumpy, is that just your armchair theorizing / recommending or are you in DoD and know something about OSD’s thinking?

    I’ve raised the “what happens next FY and beyond” question too and the answer I always get from managers is that while no official info is available, their assumption is that for a new budget year there would be planning such that DoD would actually make program cuts, RIFs, etc. rather than continue these asinine across the board furloughs. If it turns out that DoD’s plan is furloughs forever rather than making any real choices, they’re going to have one hell of an uproar from the workforce.

  9. I agree with you fed-up! Federal workers are always pawns. They are trying to use them to fix a problem that we did not create! It is very frustrating that federal employees have to suffer because people have their heads up their asses!

  10. Replying to a_fed: I am theorizing–I am not in the senior leadership chain to know anything definitive–curiously enough, neither do they.

    I base my theorizing on my jaded opinion of senior “leadership” and their inabilty at making decisions. If real downsizing were to occur through RIFs, it would require the de facto admission from agencies that they might indeed be overstaffed. Some are in fact, over staffed while others are not.
    A widespread RIF would be more difficult politcally than a peanut butter spread of perennial furloughs–that is why I opine–and only opine based on my jaded opinion of our putative leadership.

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