Next Year’s Defense Furlough Prospects Uncertain

May 14, 2013

Defense Department officials are bracing themselves for the possibility of additional furloughs or job losses in fiscal 2014 if budget sequestration continues.

A civilian employee at a town hall meeting on Tuesday asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel if the future would provide a respite from adverse moves forced by budget cuts. Hagel said he had “some confidence” in a deal emerging between the White House and Congress, but added that he could not “run an operation” based on hope.

“I can't guarantee you that we're not going to be in some kind of a similar situation next year,” Hagel said. He added that his efforts were currently focused on getting Defense through the current fiscal year.

Hagel told the crowd at the Mark Center in Alexandria, Va., that the department would begin implementing 11 furlough days for civilians on July 8. In a memo later sent to senior Defense officials, furlough exemptions were granted to several classes of workers, including shipyard workers, some personnel funded through the National Intelligence Program, and public health and safety personnel.

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