Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that most of the Defense Department's 800,000 civilian personnel will be furloughed up to 11 days in response to budget cuts brought on by sequestration.
“After extensive review of all options with the DoD’s senior military and civilian leadership on how we address this budget crisis, today I am announcing that I have decided to direct furloughs of up to 11 days for most of the Department’s civilian personnel,” Hagel said in a statement. “I have made this decision very reluctantly, because I know that the furloughs will disrupt lives and impact DoD operations. I recognize the significant hardship this places on you and your families.”
The furloughs will begin July 8, with employees losing one day of work per week. “Furloughs for 11 days represent about half of the number we had originally planned, reflecting the Department’s vigorous efforts to meet our budgetary shortfalls through actions other than furlough,” Hagel said. “There will be exceptions driven by law and by the need to minimize harm to the execution of our core missions. For example, all employees deployed or temporarily assigned to a combat zone will be excepted from furloughs.”
Hagel said DOD had already cut back on “facilities maintenance” and military training. “If our budgetary situation permits us to end furloughs early, I would strongly prefer to do so,” he also said. “That is a decision I will make later in the year.”