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Department Of Defense Ready to ‘Muscle through’ Furlough Period

By NCO Journal

July 8, 2013

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As the Department of Defense enters the furlough period, performing the core mission of defending the United States and its interests will be the department’s primary focus, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said Monday.

Because of sequestration, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel furloughed about 85 percent of DoD civilian employees one day a week through the end of the fiscal year, a total of 11 days, the press secretary said. The move helps meet mandated budget cuts forced by the sequester and affect more than 650,000 civilian employees. “My assumption is the vast majority of that population is on furlough at least one day this week,” Little said.

Little estimated the action will save the department $1.8 billion by the end of September.

Some missions in the department will be impacted, he said. “We’re very clear with our own staff that there will be some impact, and we expect other offices to have similar impacts,” the press secretary said.

What happens in fiscal 2014 remains up in the air, Little said in response to a question about the possibility of future layoffs. “We’re getting ahead of ourselves talking about layoffs at this stage,” he said. “Right now we’re in the furlough period and no decisions have been reached about what may happen going forward.”

Sequestration “was an unfortunate mechanism designed to avoid unfortunate consequences. We’re seeing some of those consequences already in regards to military training and readiness,” the press secretary said.

“It’s unfortunate we’re in this period but we’re going to muscle through it best we can,” he added.

American Forces Press Service contributed to this report.