DoD Furlough Strategy Announced

On May 14, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel issued a memorandum updating the Defense Department’s furlough strategy. Department of Defense (DoD) civilians will be furloughed up to 11 days beginning no later than July 8. Originally, DoD identified only limited exceptions to the furloughs, including civilians in war zones, foreign workers overseas, and political appointees, but additional available funding has enabled DoD to expand the exceptions to civilian personnel needed to maintain care in military hospital emergency rooms, those providing behavioral health services, or providing support to wounded service members or the disability evaluation process.

While Department of Defense schools are NOT exempt from civilian furloughs, DoD insists they will work to provide school children with a full year of quality education and ensure each school maintains its accreditation. Press reports in early April state that there will be no furlough-related DoD school closures for the current school year. Click here for additional information on how the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) is planning for sequestration. On May 14, Secretary Hagel announced DoDEA employees will be furloughed for five days at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year. While this alleviates the problem for this school year, we are concerned about the impact for the next school year, not knowing if more furloughs may be planned for fiscal year 2014.

The Defense Secretary’s May 14 memo states that furlough exceptions will be granted for DoD civilians working in Child Development Centers to meet “the minimum level needed to maintain accreditation and maintain quality care for children in military families.” The impact on Child Development Centers (CDC) and Child and Youth Services is unclear. Some centers are staffed by Non-appropriated fund (NAF) workers who will not be affected by furloughs. Others are staffed by civilian government employees and some by a mix of both types. Centers staffed by DoD civilians will be affected by furloughs. Decisions on cutbacks on hours or services will be made locally.

These are not the only areas where furloughs will impact military families. Military family members who are employed as DoD civilians in other agencies will still be subject to furlough. While assuredly 11 days of furlough will result in less of an impact than 22 days, services to families will still be affected. Staff cuts as a result of hiring freezes and other budget cuts are affecting military families as well. Our Association will continue to monitor these cuts and continue to speak out about the effects of sequestration on the readiness of service members and their families.

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