Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (File)
WASHINGTON (May 14, 2013)—About 680,000 of the 800,000 civilian employees of the Department of Defense will be furloughed one day a week and for as much as 11 days starting on July 8 through the end of the current fiscal year, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced Tuesday in a message to DOD personnel.
The Defense Department has a $30 billion shortfall in the accounts from which most civilian employees are paid as a result of deep automatic budget cuts, despite reductions in facilities maintenance and non-essential programs and efforts to shift funds, Hagel said.
“Since deeper cuts to training and maintenance could leave our nation and our military exposed in the event of an unforeseen crisis, we have been forced to consider placing the majority of our civilian employees on administrative furlough,” he said.
The Pentagon earlier warned that most of its civilian employees would be forced to take 22 unpaid days off, but Congress approved a new spending bill at the end of the March that gave the DOD more wiggle room to find saving.
"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.
"Your managers have been given authority to develop specific furlough procedures to minimize adverse mission effects and also limit the harm to morale and productivity. They will be in touch with you to provide guidance and answers, Hagel said in the message.