HomeNewsArticle Display

Hagel Announces Fewer Furlough Days for Civilians

WASHINGTON -- The Defense Department has revised from 22 to 14 the number of days hundreds of thousands of civilian employees could be furloughed this year because of the budget sequester, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced today.

In addition, a senior Defense Department official speaking on background told reporters the start of the furloughs will be delayed until mid-to-late June, after more than 700,000 department employees receive furlough notices now set to go out in early May. Furloughs would happen over seven two-week pay periods until the end of September, when the current fiscal year ends, the senior official said, with employees likely to be told not to come to work for two days during each of those pay periods.

Department officials say they are still working to determine which employees might be exempted.

Hagel characterized the reduced furloughs as well as a revised estimate of sequestration's impact on the defense budget as good news. The changes follow Congressional approval last week of a defense appropriations bill that prevented an additional six billion dollars in cuts, ordered under sequestration, from taking effect.

"It reduces a shortfall at least in the operations budget," the secretary told reporters at a Pentagon news conference. "We came out better than we went in under the sequester, where it looks like our number is $41 billion [in cuts] now versus the $46 billion."

But despite a Congressional reprieve, Hagel said the Pentagon is still going to be short at least $22 billion for operations and maintenance, "and that means we are going to have to prioritize and make some cuts and do what we've got to do," including making sharp reductions in base operating support and training for nondeployed units.

More critical in the long run, he said, is how budget cuts will affect readiness and the department's overall mission. Because of that concern, he said he has directed Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to conduct an intensive department-wide review of U.S. strategic interests including how to protect the nation with fewer resources. "How do we prioritize the threats and then the capabilities required to deal with threats?" he said. "There will be some significant changes, there's no way around it."

Dempsey said the department has already exhausted 80 percent of its operating funds halfway through the fiscal year and characterized the current budget situation as "not the deepest, but the steepest decline in our budget ever," and warned it will affect military readiness into the future.

"We will have to trade at some level and to some degree our future readiness for current operations," the chairman said. He called on elected leaders to give the Pentagon the budget flexibility it needs to carry out institutional reforms.

"We can't afford excess equipment," Dempsey said. "We can't afford excess facilities. We have to reform how we buy weapons and services. We have to reduce redundancy. And we've got to change, at some level, our compensation structure."
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.