Pentagon authorizes hiring freezes, furlough plans

Pentagon authorizes hiring freezes, furlough plans

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta realizes he will have only a short time to find $52 billion worth of savings in the Pentagon’s 2013 budget if Congress fails to reach an agreement by March 1 to eliminate the sequester cuts.

To mitigate some of the damage to military readiness, the Pentagon authorized civilian hiring freezes while instructing managers to devise plans to institute furloughs to civilians for up to 30 calendar days.

Panetta and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, went further in explaining the military is getting close to grounding aircraft and returning ships to port in order to make up for the budget cuts that increasingly look more likely. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said Friday the Air Force will have to severely cut flying hours and restrict necessary maintenance to aging aircraft.

“We’ll be unable to reset the force following a decade of war,” Dempsey said. “Our readiness will begin to erode. Within months, we’ll be less prepared. Within a year, we’ll be unprepared.”

Panetta said March is shaping up to be “perfect storm of budget uncertainty.” The sequester deadline will occur the same month as the debt ceiling debate and the expiration date for the Continuing Resolution that funds the Pentagon. If Congress chooses to extend the CR, the Pentagon will have to absorb an additional $11 billion cut. The sequester cuts would impose an $18 billion cut on the Pentagon’s fiscal year 2013 budget.

“We have no idea what the hell’s going to happen. All told, this uncertainty, if left unresolved by the Congress, will seriously harm our military readiness,” Panetta said.

Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter issued a memo Thursday outlining the near term actions the Pentagon will take in order to prepare for March. Pentagon leaders have changed their tune from one where they denied planning for sequestration to one where it sounds more inevitable than doubtful.

In the memo, Carter listed near term actions the military will begin taking in the next few weeks. Those listed below are taken directly from the list Carter and Panetta authorized in the memo:

- Impose hiring freezes

- Authorize voluntary separation incentives and voluntary early retirements to the extent feasible.

- Consider the possibility of furloughs of up to 30 calendar days or 22 discontinuous workdays

- Reduce base operating funding.

–Curtail travel, training, and conferences (all with exceptions for mission-critical activities including those required to maintain professional licensure or equivalent certifications).

- Curtail facilities maintenance

- Curtail administrative expenses such as supply purchases, business IT, ceremones, etc.

- Review contracts and studies for possible cost-savings.

- Cancel 3rd and 4th quarter ship maintenance availabilities and aviation and ground depot level maintenance activities. Take this action no earlier than Feb. 15, 2013.

- Clear all R&D and production contracts and contract modifications that obligate more than $500 million with the USD(AT&L) prior to award.

- For Science and Technology accounts, provide the USD(AT&L) and the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Research and Engineering) with an assessment of the impact that budgetary uncertainty may have on meeting Department research priorities.

With each one of those actions in mind, Panetta and Dempsey stressed that war operations, wounded warriors and families will be protected from any cuts ahead of March. Of course, many families serve as Defense Department civilians so those family budgets will likely get smaller in the event a furlough is executed.

Panetta and Dempsey’s decision to issue these warnings in a very public way was seen by defense analysts as their attempt to keep the military in the national debate. Many inside the Pentagon worry the military could easily be swept into the cuts under the debt ceiling negotiations should the Pentagon’s leaders not make a more public display of the effects the cuts will have on the military.

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Rotating furloughs of civilian employees? Clever. Were DOD forced to prioritize their civilian positions and furlough the “least necessary”, they would likely have to cut those positions the next time Congress took aim at government employees. This way they can continue to maintain the fiction that every civilian employee is vital to national defense.

That means the Dod might get smart and know that congress will not come to the rescue. Be best to get all ready to cut unwanted programs and I do hate to say layoffs that probably will come.

I hope Dod personnel can get jobs else where for now, not there fault its the idiots in WH congress and Pentagon who made this whole problem.

“Many inside the Pentagon worry the military could easily be swept into the cuts under the debt ceiling negotiations should the Pentagon’s leaders not make a more public display of the effects the cuts will have on the military.”

Debt ceiling or no debt ceiling, the handwriting is on the wall. That was made very clear by Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel as the next SECDEF.

The Obama people have been very clear about their rationale for picking Hagel. Bill Burton, one of Obama’s longtime political operatives, said quite openly that “This is a guy who’s a decorated veteran, and when you’ve got a period of time when you’re going to have to make huge cuts to the Pentagon, he’s the sort of guy you want on your team doing it.”

Yep. Huge cuts. That’s what is coming. At a time when American force structure is already shrinking rapidly even without those huge cuts.

By the end of the Obama presidency in January of 2017, the U.S. armed forces are going to be hollow shells of their former selves. Systemswise and personnelwise. And that is entirely in line with Obama’s and Hagel’s jointly shared view of the world.

It is a pessimistic view in which the U.S. can never accomplish anything good by militarily intervening abroad. So, removing the capacity of the U.S. military to effectively do so will thereby prevent misadventure.

It’s a profoundly simplistic and misguided policy stance. Metaphorically like banning cars to prevent drunk driving, without recognizing that cars serve good and useful ends when not driven by drunks. Analogous to the blinkered isolationism of the 1930s that left the U.S. unprepared for war in 1941, and which got so many American servicemen killed and maimed for no good reason.

But, as silly and dangerous as that neoisolationist disarmament push by Obama and Hagel is, it will be the policy stance of the U.S. for the next four years. Get used to it.

If you currently serve, or if you work in defense industry, you had better start getting your civilian resume polished up, and better start with a financial contingency plan for you and your family. Right now.

There are far too many general and flag officers relative to the number of enlisted. Where is the plan to pare back some of that fat?

That, and prepare to watch the world become an even worse place than it already is. We were a force for good despite our mistakes. That force is being taken out of the picture now.….

- “It is a pessimistic view in which the U.S. can never accomplish anything good by militarily intervening abroad. So, removing the capacity of the U.S. military to effectively do so will thereby prevent misadventure”

Exactly. Obama is the product of the liberal education establishment. In his mind (and in the mind of so many other liberally educated Americans) the US is really just one country in a wide spectrum of equally worthy countries. If the US is exceptional in any way, it is primarily for it’s guilty history, full of sins and evil doing. From slavery to imperialist oppression to greed to bigotry of every stripe. To the liberal American mind, the prospect of decimating our military, in exchange for immediate fiscal rewards on the domestic front, is quite acceptable. We may lose our place of prominence on the world stage, become an old dog with no teeth, and our saber rattling may never be more than empty noise…BUT, our senior citizens will get their hip replacements, and our retirees will get the pension packages they so richly deserve.

We can always console ourselves by claiming that we are “leading from behind”, and that the world is probably better off without us telling them how to behave anyway. After all, they never really appreciated our efforts, and we tended to make mistakes. We should probably let somebody with more courage, and more conviction in their answers, take the lead. (Like Iran. Or North Korea. Or China. Or Russia, Or Venezuela. Or whoever.)

The drastic near-term cuts under discussion reflect budget uncertainty Congress has handed us — and the fact that by 1 MAR, 5 months of the fiscal year will be over. Up to now, many have argued that, outside a sequestration scenario, DoD cuts would be in the 5 percent/year range, down from wartime highs. Assuming viable current CY budgets are passed and the fiscal cliff are addressed by March (admittedly a big leap), are these long-term cuts unmanageable? Our federal budget is unsustainably high, the DoD budget reductions must be part of any solution.

Sorry, but it takes too much political strength to move that kind of fat right now.


Time to re-think the closing of bases no longer required! If cogress doesn’t want to act on tough decisions; then let the pentagon do “what they have to”, to cut their budget! All of our elected officials are useless, and afraid to make tough (or ANY) decisions! Maybe the best ting would be to shut down congress for a while. First priority out to be cutting welfare, and other giveaway programs to the people that have been living off the programs for generatins! Limit the time they can collect! I heard that if you add upall of their “freebies”, it’s about $40,000 year. That’s quite an incentive to stay at home!!!!!!!!!!

Political strength [integrity…foresight..wisdom] is also in large deficit..perhaps even surpassing that of the budget.

Sad, but true.

Barrack Obama: Sequestration cuts will not happen.


The problem with base closures as a budget reduction solution is you have to pay it forward. It costs billions and takes years to clean up bases (serious environmental), shut them down, and move the personnel and equipment. Unless you drastically cut the size of the Army with the base closures, you have to build new facilities for those troops elsewhere. The last BRAC was started in 2005 with the final movements just now being complete. If you take what was spent moving/closing, we won’t actually save any money for a few more years.

Gates vowed to reduce star-ranks by some number a few years ago and that number has gone down a bit, but not nearly in the amount he or others would have liked. When the press asked the DoD that question a year ago, they pointed to the downward trend, but included positions that only existed in Iraq which are gone as proof of action.

DOD would do well to revamp it’s acquisition processes and cut much of the red tape.

Allow me to paraphrase Shakespear, “The problem dear Brutus is not within our stars, but it within our OVERSPENDING THAT WE HAVE BECOME UNDERLINGS”…

Wonder if Congress will make all other areas in the government take furlough days, including Obama staff and congressional staff??

Never happen GI

We’ve already seen that the government’s idea of cutting spending is to cut the WG-4 laborer that cuts the grass. Always cut from the bottom, never the top!

Billions of dollars would be saved if PCS costs to move families were eliminated. This can be done by abolishing the so-called 5 Year rule.

I heard this Civilian Hiring Freeze may last a very long time.

Ha nice try, more money is spent keeping you homesteaders overseas with all your free housing LQA, COLA, and other benies. You are the ones wasting the governments dime!!

I was in the army back in the 80’s and 1991 I decided to ETS when that draw down happened and then I decided to return in 98 to finish out and get my retirement. But what I saw from that draw down of the mid 90’s will be nothing to compare to this one. I fear that we allare going to experience a very rough ride ahead us.
God help us

The entitlement programs must also be a part of the reduction.

Yet the Air Force continues to push career civilians to PCS in order to get promoted. How about stopping that ridiculous requirement for senior civilians that burns up unnecessary costs?

How about cutting back congressional pay as well as taking away their medical for life, like they did to veterans? Drastically cut their misc. charge cards for fancy dinners and unnecessary travel & other expenditures! Seems congress is getting paid an awful lot of money for very little real work. I agree cuts should be made, i.e. hiring freezes, unnecessary travels, over-charged supply costs, etc. I agree with a limit on the amount of time you can claim welfare benefits, etc., and other such measures. Congress has bled the military and their families dry. As far as DOD civillians, look at the program they have. Their is a lot of waste there, too. Instead of hiring companies to do outside work, hire veterans under the umbrella as “gov’t. workers”. I don’t see congress out there fighting wars and performing “so-called” peace-keeping missions. Stop taking away from those who served! I could be sarcastic and say put those congressmen out on the front lines without bodyguards and see what tune they carry then!

It was the House that pushed for Sequestration — Not The White House

Need to begin cuts with the Senators and Congressmen receiving a salary for life even after only “1” term in office. Supposedly this salary continues for the family after the loss of the senator or congressman. Should be a mandatory 3 terms in order to collect a portion of their retirement. Limit Supreme Court judges to ten years max and also cut down the 2 and 3 months of vacation the government cabinet members take, often when something important needs a vote. Eliminate patsy’s in Congress and Senate from pushing the vote buttons for someone not in attendance. Cut billions up front from the foreign aid to countries that are against the American policies etc. Seems as though the countries that hate the US are being rewarded. England and Israel are both close allies, but with the Obama regime both countries are looked down on, and because Obama’s country of birth is a muslim dictator lead country he has alienated the US friends.

Both statements are somewhat true. It is seriously time to revisit the LQA issue…spending upwards of $40k a year on housing allowance as an incentive is excessive, especially when commands are finding more and more people willing to take the same positions without the LQA. We should really look at a locality pay system, like the private sector uses, adjusting salaries to compensate for the cost of living in different areas (both up and down). Also can eliminate all the positions dedicated just to LQA decisions and reconciliations, determinations that have been shown to be capricious and oftentimes wrong and costly. At the same tie extending the 5 year rule to an initial 5 year tour plays a 2 year extension would allow for PCS savings and better family planning for civilians.

That is what the new world order wants. A diminished US military force that will place foreign countries in a position to threaten the US thus forcing the US to capitulate to Communist and Muslim direction.…

A corrupt Congress is at the root of all of these problems, from robbing the Social Security system and other retirement systems (but of course not their own) to spending money on things we didn’t need (pork barrel crap). We’re closing in on social chaos caused by a slow government collapse…not good.

Everyone is looking to cut DOD, the agency that needs to be cut or better yet closed down is USAID, check out some of the grants they give to Countries that don’t want it except to line the pockets of the leaders.

the government does not believe we can make an intelligent decisions therefore they believe executive decisions rule.

Shut it down permanently. The pentagon has proven itself useless time and time again. Shut it down forever. If you can carry a 100 pound backpack around in the mud for no reason, you can go get a job.

The comment about cutting or eliminating Free Programs like Food Stamp has been the most abusive project I have ever seen. People have to start getting jobs and takiing advantage of these services. It was only meant to be just for temporary assistance. I personally know this because where we are located, guest to immigrants just come here just to reap the benefits and have more children born on US Soil. We have to put a stop to it because we will dig ourselves more deep in the pile of just giving without receiving.

Suggestion: Why not pull and terminate benefits completely if family member has been caught with a serious crime. This will make families think twice and start taking action in being a part of the solution than creating more problems. Cut Food Stamps Programs off now before the tax payers start complaining again.

U.S. Interior secy.’s bathroom gets $222k renovation! And now, you know the rest of the story!

Let’s see if now that POTUS has his 2nd term, that he will follow in Carters shoes & wack some fat. JSF like the B-1, is NOT a good program. Way to much politico, ask the folks at GE who had their F136 engine wacked by “Mother Pratt” ‘s lobby arm.

Onerseas employees. Typically are retired MIL who have commissary, Bx & medical privileges @ the base…why do they need extra $$$ to live overseas? Suggest you cut the perks if Uncle Sam is already paying the gal/guy? They are just building up a fat retirement egg at our expense!

Prepper, that’s not what Phil was referring to. If you’ll recall, in the Presidential debates Obama confidently said “sequestration will not happen”. Therefore, it’s looking more and more like he’ll be proven to be the liar that 49% of us in the country already knew him to be. Without question, history will judge him to be the worst president in our country’s history, past or future. No president has done so much to break down our way of life as he has.

When your office is cut from 8 to 2 over the last couple of years, guess what, what is left is vital. There is no fiction there.

@JBrown– it’s obvious you don’t know what the hell your talking about.


As a civil service employee I haven’t seen a COLA in 3 years. Hard when you’re a 7 step 10, commute 3 hrs a day. Prices for everything going up, etc. No promotion possibilities, etc. Thanks for nothing.

Just one time in my thirty years I would like to see some common sense applied to furloughs or RIF’s. I keep receiving newsflash’s to encourage civilians to increase their education and military PME. The good old boy system is alive and well at our base. In the grades from GS-09 to GS-13 we have 65 with just a high school education; you tell me what reflection shows on the AF when we have a Deputy Commander GS-13 with a High School only education. Let personnel other then at the local base level cut the fat from the “good-old boys”, all are supervisors, and spare the workers.

Maybe there should be laws against politicians like Cheney for making millions on government contracts — The Cheney-Halliburton story is the classic military-industrial revolving door tale. As Secretary of Defense under Bush I, Cheney paid Brown and Root services (now Kellogg Brown and Root) $3.9 million to report on how private companies could help the U.S. Army as Cheney cut hundreds of thousands of Army jobs. Then Brown and Root won a five-year contract to provide logistics for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers all over the globe. In 1995, Cheney became CEO and Halliburton jumped from 73rd to 18th on the Pentagon’s list of top contractors, benefiting from at least $3.8 billion in federal contracts and taxpayer-insured loans, according to the Center for Public Integrity. They are allowed to make millions and the rest of the federal employees have to be furloughed to help pay for it.

Hiring freeze. It is hitting me. Tentative job offer received and accepted. EOD wasn’t established in time due to medical and security background investigation. Missed by 1 day. This sucks.

Billions could be saved by simply cutting back on foreign aid to all these countries that hate us anyway. Instead, they want to make cuts on the backs of the federal workers. Brilliant! Either way this means unemployment for somebody. Why can’t it be someone in a country that doesn’t deserve our aid rather than here at home?

I am so tired of O’Bama politics and the not so well informed public who put the Indonesian imposter back for a second term. Anyone paying attention knew that if he was reelected the demise of a free nation would be his priority. Lests start by weakening the military so they are no possible threat, then force strict gun control laws and increase the welfare state mentality he advocates and we have the 2016 version of George Orwell’s 1984. Wake up people and start pushing for term limits, restraining executive authority and keeping the judiciary out of making law. Time for a new revolution in this country-just hope it isn’t a bloody one. And we can quit worrying about how many times La O’Bama wears her frumpy Target dress with her revamped hair style

Me too.

It’s funny how everyone wants to blame the POTUS when it is clear that the Republican congress only mission is to do whatever it takes to make him fail. They don’t care about the people and would rather let this country suffer. Everyone in congress should be fired. I will never vote for the Republican Party again if they can’t get there act together. They should freeze the congress pay until the hiring freeze is lifted and they can get a deal done. It doesn’t make sense that the men and women that put themselves in harms way to protect the freedom of our country are always the ones who suffer the most when the incompetent leaders in congress can’t get there heads out of their butts.

Right on Arno. Our money is being used for projects overseas while our ifrastructure is falling apart here at home. Congress, Shut USAID down NOW

During the nearly 30 years I’ve worked for the Army Corps of Engineers, I’ve seen unbelievable amounts of wastes, money squandered, and unneeded personnel. If they’d just stop squandering our country’s resources on pork, there would be plenty left over for the muscle we need to do the things we need.

Me three.

I went through the whole pre hire process. I was told the day I was to receive the firm offer that the freeze was in effect .….I was really looking forward to this new job!

My first issue is why are government workers being punished for our nations debt? No pay raise for 2 years, constant hiring freezes, no cost of living adjustments. Inflation is goes up every year! Secondly, how about the DOD FORCING people to retire. Some government workers are 70 years old eligible for retirement, but still want to work? Get rid of those people if you want to save some $$$. Thirdly, you have retired military people who have DOD jobs double dipping the system! How about eliminating that as well? I may just pack up and move to the Bahamas!

GE has plenty of lawyers too. The 136 was (is) a piece of crap. We at Pratt had thousands of hours on our engine when the GE motor was still having trouble running at all in the test cell right next to ours. JSF is a great program, especially considering how old our other airplanes are.

Dod has to acquire in accordance with laws imposed by congress. Stick the red tape where it belongs!

When they reduce force it is always the guys on the low end of the todem pole. The highers up ALWAYS save their asses…but that is really where they need cuts at. These GS 11’s and higher.

There are too many higher ups in DOD that cover their asses and swindle money. The problem is the lower ranking GS’s are the ones always paying for these mistakes. They are also the ones being cut and overworked, so the higher GS’s can keep their jobs.

How about the military that are stateside? There is no reason they can not do a furlough as well. Most of them are just training or hanging around.

Good. I would rather see that then a furlough of the employees they already have

Of course the government wants to spread it out of a 5 months period of time, instead of just allowing the employees to take the furlough days in one sum…that way they could get unemployment.

Yes true. The moochers GS overseas cant hack it in the real world so they take the easy route and homestead in overseas positions. and continue to bad mouth the USA! Basically the become European. Ive seen the GS who somehow remained overseas for 20+ years and were slugs.

Amen to that!!!

I don’t agree with everything you say, but I do agree that Congress should be fired or that their pay should be frozen until they actually do their job!!

Eliminate Congressional retirement payments beyond life to beneficiaries, reduce prime med and dental benefits that they can afford without limit or copay, reduce 100s of staff members per each congressman. Envoke no retirement for congressman that committ crimes and our kicked out of congress, limit terms to congressman to two years only, eliminate lobbyist and big-money influence, Change the practice of new congressman being forced to get objectives approved by senior life-time politicians to get things done. Quit sending BILLIONS of dollars overseas to countries that are allies only as long as we pay them. Most congessman are rich–put a cap on any type of salary if they dont even need to work to pay their bills. Go back to making the opposing presidential candidate the vice president to help with biparitsan issues.

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