Furloughs set up acquisition ‘perfect storm’

Furloughs set up acquisition ‘perfect storm’

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A senior Army official said the civilian furloughs that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced Wednesday would create a “perfect storm” of problems for the Army acquisition community.

Panetta informed Congress on Wednesday that the military will furlough about 800,000 Defense Department civilians should sequestration be enacted on March 1. The sequestration cuts will force the Army to subtract $17-$18 billion from its operations and maintenance budget before October 2013.

The long term sequestration cuts will subtract $500 billion from planned defense spending over the next ten years. Losing that funding will force the Army and the other services to cancel or alter contracts already signed with defense companies.

In other words, the Army acquisition community, which is made up mostly of civilians, will be busy. This poses a problem if you are ordering your civilians to take one day of unpaid leave per week until October.

“Certainly we think there is a potential for a perfect storm because as [Army acquisition chief Heidi Shyu] mentioned earlier, to implement sequestration reductions … to our budget it’s going to potentially necessitate the modification and the potential termination of contracts,” Gabe Camarillo, the principal deputy to the Army acquisition chief, said at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Winter Symposium.

“Contracting actions are going to go up significantly at the same time that we may encounter a shortfall in our work force. That’s going to present some significant challenges for us in the coming weeks and months should we have to implement the reductions,” Camarillo said.

He didn’t specify what specific contracts are at risk should sequestration occur.

Pentagon officials explained that only a select few DoD civilians will be exempted from the furloughs. It’s unclear if the acquisition community will be part of that small group.

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More scaremongering. The furloughs, if enacted as DOD envisages, will entail one day without pay for each week . Presumably, DOD will be able to schedule the furloughs so as to minimize impact, i.e., if they have a lick of common sense. They’re doing the one day per week thing so the civilian employees affected won’t be able to file unemployment.

put the president, and congress, and the senate on unpaid fulrlough—–actually they have basically been paid for nothing already

Scaremongering — lol. The furloughs of 800K employees is only the tip of the iceberg and a small percentage of the cuts totaling less then $500 million in savings. The tens of billions in cuts for the entire military and civilian sectors of government, that’s the reality, not a scare tactic.

Think of it this way, you are looking at a 20 percent manpower reduction for each employee, who is now upset that they just took an unjustified 20% pay cut, it may not hurt the higher level GS employees, but those in the bottom half don’t have anywhere near as much “cushion” in our budgets. 20% hurts! It’s awfully hard to find a 2nd job for that one day of the week!

i don’t think its a problem they are nit working 40% of time anyway just cut all the paid holidays and give with no pay

Says someone who has no experience working within the government and most likely never served his country. Nice sentiments. Next we’ll just cut your pay and see how that works for you.

rog, maybe you should continue smoking crack or whatever dope you are on. Knowledge of what people do for a living doesn’t seem to be your strong suit. Most of the 800,000 defense workers do a very good job of ensuring that the guys and gals who kill bad guys and destroy their property have waht they need to do just that. There are a minority of lazy pices of crap who work on big rock candy mountain and deserve your comment. However, please don’t throw the rest of us in the same barrel as those slugs and please before you shoot your mouth off again concerning things that you have no knowledge of, do a little research, it’ll make you seem as if you are more intelligent than you probably are.

$85 Billion in cuts and they are freaking out?! Our Govt spends that much money in less than 10 days! We spend more than twice that in Foreign Aid, so why don’t we just cut out Foreign Aid completely for now until we get a budget? If the President and Congress don’t want to do their job and just want to play games, then why don’t we just furlough them? Yes BOTH parties are guilty of the games here, this is an easy problem to solve and they just want to play politics.

Let fire everyone in Washington get new people who will work for US. They are playing around and still getting paid. We are going to be a second rate Country if we keep going this way.

How is it saving anything?
It’s only a paper illusion.
Those employees who will lose that much of their income,
most of whom are already on a fixed budget,
that’s less money they have to even subsist on.
Their rents and mortgages, their utilities, the food they have to put on their tables and gas in their vehicles and clothes on their kids’ backs,
those expenses won’t lessen for them, making their hardships even more.
I actually expect it will add considerably to the next housing crisis,
as we’ll slip into the same default/foreclosure gully that happened years ago this past decade when gas prices spiked to all-time highs and families fought to decide where their fixed incomes could or couldn’t be spent. With gas crossing the $4/gal mark again, it’s inevitable.

Way to go, admin. You deleted that 4 times.
Really showing your true colors now.

We have no choice but to completely shut down our worthless war machine. Completely. We owe trillions of dollars to other countries. Time to pay the piper. We have proven beyond any doubt that we are too violent and irresponsible to have a military, we are too uneducated to fund it, and we are too lazy to fix our own problems. It will be up to another country to take over and I can’t see how the job can possibly be done in a worse way. There is only one way to go from here.

Cut the bureaucracy staffers, separate/furlough the NH4s with less than 4 years service at all the R&D/PEO HQs by 25% and leave the worker bees at the acquisition centers and PMs alone. They won’t be missed, they add no value to supportingthe warfighter. Phil

Get outta here. I work at a Naval depot and you walk the parking lot where the Artisans park and just see what kind of cars these people are driving and realize these folks could save up 6 months and more of living expenses if they really wanted to. After you take a gander at all the nice newer cars turn your head 180 degrees and see the freakin wall of nice Harleys and other bikes stacked up when the days are nice. Thats 5-15k toys these guys have on top of their new well working cars.

The problem isn’t that people are just barely making ends meet. The problem is going all the way back to our parents generation a job was almost ALWAYS guaranteed. Those days are gone and people need to adjust their standard of living to allow for longer stretches of time without work.

I don’t hear anyone talking about cutting welfare programs or any other program where you do not have to work to get money. AND I AGREE, CUT THAT F@$&ING FOREIGN AID!!!!!!

I have say many of the comments posted I sure agree. As a current goverment employee that will be affected I have to look elesewhere for work due to finanacial obligation to my kids. Already living payday to payday the politician on the hill do not realize how many families will be affected by this furlogh. Everyone has good points hence it is up to those politician to decide.

Perhaps the way for you to go is out of here!

Let’s not bullshit anyone, a 20% cut in pay really hurts!!!! The average DOD employee is not a Washington D.C. fat cat. Most DOD civilians’ work exceptionally hard ensuring our uniformed services have what they need to perform their assigned missions. They are the continuity of the military. Uniformed personnel arrive at most assignments and they stay 2–4 years then move on. On the other hand, DOD Civilian personnel may remain at the same job for 30 years. They are the experts, the problem solvers, and the doers that work behind the scenes within most DOD organizations and get very little credit. Further, a DOD civilian has more than a job, like his/her uniformed counterpart they swear an oath to support and defend the constitution of the United States when they are hired. In this time of uncertainly, I pray no uniformed military member loses his/her life because some little old lady in tennis shoes, who for the last 22 years has worked diligently in a DOD warehouse packing and shipping repair parts for military helicopters was furloughed. It would be very hard to explain to a soldier’s mother that her son died in combat because the helicopter that normally transports wounded soldiers couldn’t fly that day because it was in need of a repair part that was never shipped because that little old lady was furloughed. “Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught in falsehoods school. And the person that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool.” This is a travesty!!!!

Anyone can buy a car and pay for it over six years. What in the world are you talking about? And why in the world would someone want to just make ends meet? They want to live a decent, middle-class life. I guess for some reason you think like a Communist. It’s grand to be poor and yeah to the Motherland! Go live in Russia or China. Ordinary citizens there don’t have cars. You would fit right in. How do you get to work? On the bus I hope so you can embody your own philosophy.

Has anyone realized that the media has convinced us that it’s a crime to have a good job and a good life? And that if you don’t have a job no one else deserves one? We have all begun to think like the poor citizens of North Korea, or china or Russia. We all now want to be the same in our poverty and the government has convinced us that it’s noble and if our neighbour is doing well they are taking something away from us. That is the way to bring down a Democracy and we are playing right into the hands of whatever group is behind this.

for that matter, the president and congress really owe we taxpayers some back pay for their gross incompetence.

@Adam, Wow! You really know your stuff. I was completely unaware that the greatest military to ever exist, by all accounts, is a “worthless war machine.” Why is it that the first place… the only place that liberals ever look when it comes to trim the federal budget is the DOD? They never look at the larger drains on the economy such as entitlement programs; Medicare, Welfare, Social Security or any of the federal social programs. How about we defund Owebummer Care, return to Medicare the $500 billion that Owebummer took to fund Owebummer Care, take a good hard look at reducing other tax revenue sucking agencies like the Dept. of Education, the EPA, the IRS… The DOD over the past 20 years has cut back numerous times through successive BRACs. It’s time other agencies step up to the plate. And Adam… If you don’t like America, leave. Don’t sit around moaning about it. No one wants to hear your socialist crap. Just leave. Go live in a country you would like much better such as Russia or China.

Absolutely agree with your comments. I work for DoD as an Army civilian and have done this for 30 years now. I took this job because I wanted to serve my country and give my public service to a cause I truly believe in, it’s called freedom. Most DoD Feds come to work each day trying to do our very best to support Soldiers and their families who put their own lives in danger to protect our freedom to complain like hell in public forums such as these. Stop financing the country’s debt problem on the backs of federal civilian employees. I expect to use my experience for a long time still and dont plan to bash people in any kind of job, federal or otherwise, that a 20% cut in pay for anyon seems justified. Who do you think federal employees are? They are your neighbors who also have families, student loans, kids in college, and mortgages just like you. Wake up and engage your congressmen and women and ask them to work for the pay they are receiving, which by the way isnt being cut at all.

“Pentagon contracts plunged to $12.1 billion in January, a 67% decrease from December, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, as the military reined in spending in anticipation of the [10%] cuts that may be coming.” (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013–02-19/pentagon-budget-stuck-in-last-century-as-warfare-changes.html).

Obviously the Military Industrial Complex is pulling out all the stops to worm their way out of this one.

After working in the DoD FOR OVER 33 YEARS…I have never seen such inept management of the services. The OMB guidance to the DOD has other ways to handle labor cost reductions (re-engineer organizations, early outs, Separation incentives, RIFs, etc) besides furloughs. Is this what GM did when they ran into funding issues…NOT!!.… There are comments on this site that are perfect solutions to how to handle the down sizing of the DOD and its vast wasteful bureacracy.…does the congress and DOD flag and SES get it???? Have them walk the halls of the pentagon and centers spread thru out the worl d and listen to the ground folks about what can be cut and do it in a logiocal manner. I cannot believe how this is going…re-engineer the DOD…get rid of redundnat positions…why are procurement centers still flying to sites to test and administer contracts when there is DCMA to do it on site?

I’ve been in Army Acquisition for 29 years contracting for vehicles for the Army and Marine Corp. If we have to cut, cut hardware, not people. Huge numbers of DoD civilians are on the raged edge after three years of pay freeze. Don’t think for a minute that a 20% cut in pay on top of the freezes in not going push thousands over the edge into default on homes, care loans, student loans for their kids, and on and on. Many new systems in both the Army/USMC and the Air Force have been criticized as being unnecessary such as the F-22, the F-35, the Ground Combat Vehicle and many more. And the Pentagon itself agrees that they don’t want or need many of these programs but Congress is committed to buying them anyway to keep the defense contractors happy and funding their campaigns. The F-22’s and F-35’s go for between a quarter and a half billion a piece. Do we need those at the expense of our DoD workforce? I doubt it. Cut hardware, not people!

Our fellow citizens had the chance to fire them last Nov 6th. We are suffering the consequences. Maybe people will be a little smarter during the next election. As far as I am concerned they got what they voted for.

You obviously don’t work in my government office. Our office has already been cut down by 60% and we still have the same number of service members to take care which ranks in the thousands. There is 2 of us left. Try not to listen to those (the media) who don’t know what they are talking about. Walk the walk before you open your mouth and show what you DON’T know.

Much as I agree about overpriced and underperforming hardware,
the other problematic razor’s edge we run into is,
do we furlough 800K federal employees, or totally lay off umpteen thousand people who work those production lines at the defense contractors in how many states?
Either or, the overall economy will suffer for it, as one or the other is not going to have as much disposable income to splurge on anything.
Such a disgusting tangled web our elected leaders have woven our country into…

You need to find out that the DOD has made more cuts $$ than any other government entity. I’ll bet you are screaming about the welfare system and the money handed out to our “friends”. Want to scream, ask about all the money with interest spent on our friends after WWII that was promised to be paid back. Sweden is the ONLY country to bother. Know what you speak before you do.

These meat-axe cuts are ill considered. Nonetheless, the Senate’s failure to pass or even propose a budget is the reason we are here. It is a fundamental malfeasance and an abrogation of a basic constitutional responsibility.

Because the DoD’s hands are tied with regard to responsible allocation of these reductions and because The Administration and Congress have delayed implementation for half of the fiscal year, these cuts will have a disproportionate impact and will not reflect wise strategic choices.

And yes, it will regrettably impact many DoD civilians and contractors. For the first time, federal government workers will face the same pain that those in the private sector who bear the burden of their costs have been feeling since the housing bubble burst. Finally, the Federal Government bureaucracy bubble has burst as well. It was inevitable in a shrinking economy. Driving our nation deeper into bankruptcy would only have worsened our security posture over the long term.

What most Americans fail to realize, is that many of us are DoD “Families”…as in BOTH parents work for the DoD. Sure, we took these jobs knowing we were never going to be rich, but we also took them with pride and dedication in keeping this nation free. We always seem to be the first to take a cut, to prove the “political” point of being serious. We are constantly used as the Government’s “pawn” in the political chess game between the bureaucrats, yet we are supposed to be grateful (and most are) to “serve”; however, the DoD “Family” is now expected to take a 40% pay cut after paying the higher taxes (lowered our paychecks) and frozen pay (for the last three years) while gas/food/cost of living have increased. Bottom line: We’re strapped…

(continued)… And, although I have my political views/answers to these problems that’s not the reason I’m writing this…I’m just writing to make more of you aware of these facts. Some of the comments about nice cars/nice motorcycles/etc. are not only uncalled for, they’re undignified. What someone does with their hard earned money is not the point of this entire article…the fact that the government employee is going to take ANOTHER “hit” is. To add insult to injury, my spouse and I both work (different) weapons systems…so we can’t even take off the same days during our “furlough”…more separation, as the deployments away from each other aren’t sacrifice enough. So before you start (or continue) slamming the government worker as an over paid, useless, money wasting piece of trash, that the county won’t miss, understand that we play an extremely vital role in the freedom of this (once) great country. Ghostrider Out

Because the core stock of experience for aquisitions is something that can’t be taught. After 4 years, you know if your Procurement Officer is going to be a good one or another hanger on that you can only use on the “easy” jobs. that leaves the people with experience a constant grind of high stress aquisitions.

My Division was cut 20%, last year. I can’t wait to see what will happen this year.

How about we just stop all PCS moves in the military. They move these people around every two to four years for no reason what so ever. It’s just plane stupid.

This posting exemplifies the tragedy of this administration’s policy. They came in talking smart power, soft power. They wrote and spoke broadly of building partner capacity as making the three forms of national power defense, diplomacy and development work together and reinforce one another. And yet, all forms of national security spending go down together. All this really shows is how selfish and cowardly we are as a nation — and our leaders are not challenging us to do better. I think the military has grown accustomed to pulling the rest of the country along — but that really has its limits. It isn’t just the rich and powerful who slack off from serving the nation’s interests. It is Joe Six Pack, who complains about how poor his pay is and how all the jobs are going to Mexico and China, who either does or does not pay his child support, and who takes offense when someone points out how little he does for anyone else but Number One.

Yes, I admit that there might be consequences for employees of defense contractors, but that assumes that if we cancel a single program of that contractor, he won’t be able to utilize those people elsewhere on other company programs. It would be a major calamity only if that program was the only contract the defense contractor had and if that was the case, it couldn’t involve very many people. Just as an example, and this is all information that is public record, two major defense contractors each have a technology development contract with the Army for $900 million each on the Ground Combat Vehicle program, but only a tiny fraction of those two contract awards would be for payroll of the contractor so the impact on employment would be much less if any in cancelling hardware than it would be to put the entire cut on federal employment rather than hardware.

>i don’t think its a problem they are nit working 40% of time anyway just cut all the paid holidays and give with no pay

Exactly, a 20% cut in salary should be easy to fill with productivity improvements. And nothing stopping people coming in to work for some unpaid overtime on their day off. I would expect most would, given how much we hear about how important they consider their work is.

Welcome to the capitalist system — glad you could join us finally. LOL

The First thing that needs to happen is to Ground AF 1 except for national defense issues.

The Remainder of us can go TDY to Florida during our furloughs to play a round of Golf with Tiger Woods on the backs of the taxpayer.

Our leaders are only part-timers (not intended to be that way, but it’s what it is) ; so their staffs should be cut by 50%, and the remaining others should be part-time employees also! If this came to a reality, you would really find out that these people in congress “know absolutely nothing about what our country’s needs are”! They are there for the money ONLY!

Good comment. Like you, in my 35 years of DoD service, I have seen many ways to save. I have seen too many TDYs especially for conferences that ought to be tele-conferenced. The travel expenses are tremendous. Years ago, two people (same sex) traveling together often shared a room. No more! I’ve seen funds burned up on needless furniture at the end of the fiscal year. All because you get penalized the next year if you don’t spend it all. It was obscene to say the least. And it happens all across the country. Cut the defense budget by 25% and tighten the belts. Things may not change all that drastically. My 2 cents.

I’m not sure we need to belabor Marx”s labor theory of value here. If in fact you are just bending metal, the cost of the product is the cost of materials plus the cost of labor plus the cost of capital, amortized over time. That is why the unit cost goes up when the quantity purchased goes down. But for R&D T&E contracts, most of the cost goes to engineering labor, whose cost is driven by the intellectual property of the laborers. So in an ironic sort of way, recducing RDA accounts deincentivizes engineers to engage in work for the government. You may be able to hold them hostage by setting up “march or die” programs in an economy where their real property is upside down, so it is hard to move somewhere that is more secure and their talents can be put to good use.…to me it just looks like waste., and the worst kind of waste — waste of people’s lives.

We are simply advertizing to the world that the US hasn’t a clue what to do to get out of the financial mess and we have no leaders capable of doing anything but being political.

Provo Mike Provo.….THE WAR FIGHTER ! That is w at we are here for the war fighter, sure there is no war RIGHT NOW. but there is still clean up to be done I work nights an I work very hard Thank you very much an its to serve OUR war fighters and future war fighters as well as present…By the way a BIG THANK YOU to all military and thank you for protecting me you don’t even know me but I can send this out because of you so thank you, so do I want to loose one day a week 2 days a pay period no I don’t I don’t think I should seens we are really busy at Sierra Army Depot I love my job, but if they do it I do hope it is rotated of people getting days off an not just you work the first three says of the week and have the rest off for everyone that will put I crush on in coming an out going orders. oh ya thanks Mike an you are probally one of the ones on days WHO DONT DO ANYTHING and like to blame the night shift for everything thanks buddy that’s a real same team attitude !!!!!!!!

I haven’t heard anything about Congress being furloughed. Look at the money that would save! Congress is useless anyway and as far as I’m concerned, they’re the reason our country is in the financial state it is in. Do any of us get paid for not doing our job?

Are you kidding??!!? The military is not just a war machine. It provides security, defense and emergency support to the country. Not sure what you mean “It will be up to another country to take over and I can’t see how the job can possibly be done in a worse way.” If you are suggesting that China or Russia are going to take over as a mitigating force in the world you have been sitting in a dark room by yourself for a long time.

If you look at the way the legislation was written you’ll see there is a provision that specifically excluded “presidential appointees confirmed by Congress”. Congress gets automatic pay raises (unless they vote not to take a raise) and exempt themselves from legislation that cuts jobs, pay and benefits.

Can’t furlough Congress until they return from their 10 day vacation…

“Plane” stupid.……really? Would you want to be one of those military families stuck somewhere you don’t want to be away from your loved ones because the govt can’t get their crap together. Cut the appropriate welfare programs, make people go to work for what they want and leave our military folks alone, they sacrifice enough

If you read all articles you would read that employees are not allowed in on their furloughed day. Stop being such a hater, these people have bills, mortgages and obligations just like you.

Extend the Federal Holiday Weekend one extra week day on specific months to lessen the strain on acquisition and logistical support by civilian members of DoD. Sorry if this is too much common sense for some congressional types.

“Anyone can buy a car and pay for it over six years“
Indeed, instead of the nice sport bike on top of the car or the new car themselves they can save that 3–500 a month for a couple years to build up the always recommended 6–12 month expenses cushion. Oh, but what about the children you’ll say. But what about all the expenses. Gimme a break. We have it GREAT in the United States but people don’t want to plan for their own retirement. They want to have the cell phones, the internet connections, the ipods and ipads, and sport bikes, Playstations 3, and on and on and on. And they want it now. They don’t want to take the responsibility to save their money for times just like these. Instead choosing to whine about living on shoestring budgets. We have so freakin great in this country that our poorest welfare recipients drive ok cars and have cell phones.

I came to the Government after being in the private industry for 6 years. I would have gladly welcomed a temporary 10% pay cut. What I got was laid off and 20,000+ in bonus, vacation, and paycheck that didn’t get paid out thanks to a bankruptcy.

“I guess for some reason you think like a Communist.“
You either didn’t understand what I wrote or don’t understand Communism. Possibly both.

yes, I totally agree. If they would go on furlough one day a week or even take a 10% cut in pay that would be nice. I am sure they all make over $60,000 a year.

Ken, couldn’t have said it better myself. Thank you. I hop you never have to tell a mother that the helicopter/plane couldn’t be fix because of parts.…I could be that mother, whose vet husband is a DOD employee who may be furloughed. common sense, I fear has gone astray on capital hill.

Not always true, we were at one duty staion 10 years the other for 11 years. Depends on the job and the need.

“is now expected to take a 40% pay ”

How long ’til this kind of math shows up on a chart? Wow–so if you have five people in the “family”, now you are facing a 100% pay cut! Wowsers!


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