Pentagon Policy Chief: Furloughs are Not a Sure Thing
January 31, 2013
The Defense Department’s top policy administrator on Thursday assured colleagues in a memo that media reports of coming furloughs in the civilian workforce “included many inaccuracies,” reiterating that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is working closely with the White House and Congress to avoid furloughs.
Kathleen Hicks, principal deputy undersecretary of Defense for policy, said in an email obtained by Government Executive that “no decision has been taken to furlough DoD civilians. There are congressional notification requirements prior to any DoD furloughs, and we may see a decision in the next few weeks to notify Congress that the department may need to furlough in the event of sequestration,” she wrote. Such notification is not equivalent to “actual furlough decisions, which would be made subsequently,” she added.
Hicks acknowledged comments made last weekend in a television interview by Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter saying furloughs are “more likely than unlikely” in the event of sequestration. But “planning does not assume that these unfortunate events will occur, only that we must be ready,” she said.