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Furloughs affect Buckley; changes hit home

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The day many civilians and military partners have anticipated is here as furloughs kick off at Buckley and around the Air Force July 8.

Furloughs place an employee in a temporary non-duty, non-pay status because of lack of work, reduction or lack of funds, or other non-disciplinary reason. The furlough will affect approximately 800,000 Department of Defense employees and save about $1.8 billion across the DOD. This decision was enacted to address the $37 billion sequestration cuts.

"After extensive review of all options with the DOD's senior military and civilian leadership on how we address this budget crisis ... I have decided to direct furloughs of up to 11 days for most of the department's civilian personnel," stated Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. "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."

Until the end of the fiscal year, most civilian employees will lose 20 percent of their pay due to the furlough. This amount could range anywhere from a monthly grocery bill to a mortgage payment.

"My suggestion to anyone feeling the budgetary constraints is to go see our professionals in the airman and family readiness center and our civilian personnel office for help," said Thomas Hoag, 460th Operations Group unit deployment manager. "There are many avenues out there to help someone get through these turbulent times."

Though fiscal concerns are crucial, attitude and morale are equally important in accomplishing the mission.

"My opinion of the furlough is one of acceptance; it is out of my control," Hoag said. "Hopefully the powers in charge of our budget fix some issues. I hope that this furlough actually contributes to fixing our fiscal deficiencies in our government. I would hate to think that this fiscal hardship is all for naught."

With 90 percent of civilian Airman working in the field alongside their military counterparts to accomplish the mission, a significant increase in workload can be expected for uniformed members.

"I think that the furlough is going to have an impact on my military co-worker," the deployment manager stated. "We only have a two-person shop. Sometimes we have very busy days, so he'll be hustling on those days that I'm not there.

"One way or another, the mission is going to be accomplished, because that is what we do as professionals," he said. "Although it will come at a cost."
Access the local sequestration page for additional information and resources about the furlough and to see affected organizations.
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