Despite DOD’s Preference, Not All Services Need Furloughs
To date, the Pentagon has said all of its civilian employees will share the burden of taking unpaid days off on an equal basis, but at least one of the services has identified alternate budget cuts it could carry out that would obviate the need for civilian furloughs.
As a result, defense officials face pressure to reconsider their plans, reports the Washington Post. DOD’s latest plan calls for up to 800,000 civilians to take 14 furlough days, although the department is figuring out if could reduce that number and still absorb the $41 billion sequester cut imposed this year.
The Navy has said it could make up the $300 million it would save by furloughing about 200,000 Navy and Marine Corps civilians with alternate cuts. In contrast, the Army has said it needs the $727 million it would save from requiring furloughs for about 250,000 civilian workers, primarily to help it deal with a shortfall in funding combat operations in Afghanistan.
The Air Force, which already is standing down 13 fighter and bomber squadrons, is concerned about the impact civilian furloughs would have at its maintenance depots on aircraft readiness.
“It’s the idea of shared sacrifice and shared pain, which doesn’t necessarily translate to good policy,” Todd Harrison, senior fellow for defense budget studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told the Post.