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March 08, 2013

News

Hagel notes adverse impact on civilian employees

WASHINGTON, D.C. (American Forces Press Service) — Department of Defense (DoD) civilian employees will “particularly” feel the pain sequester will bring to the entire defense work force, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said.

Along with cost-cutting actions by the services to curtail training and maintenance, the department has already announced it will furlough civilian employees beginning in late April, cutting their work hours and pay by 20 percent for the rest of the fiscal year.

“Our number one concern is our people, military and civilian, the millions of men and women of this department who work very hard every day to ensure America’s security,” the secretary said.

“I know that these budget cuts will cause pain, particularly among our civilian work force and their Families. I’m also concerned, as we all are, about the impact on readiness that these cuts will have across our force.”

Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter joined Hagel for the news conference and shared his views about defense civilian workers.

“As you know, our civilian work force is about 800,000 strong,” Carter said. “Those people, too, are dedicated to the defense mission.”

Nearly 90 percent of DoD civilians live outside of Washington, D.C., he noted, and nearly half of them are veterans.
Civilians make important contributions to the nation’s defense, Carter said. “They do real things that are really important to us. And they’ve had their pay frozen for years; now they’re subject to furlough.”

The deputy secretary said the reason civilians join the department, and the reason “I hope they’ll stick with us,” is because of mission.

“They’re committed to what we do, which is defend the country and hope to make a better world,” he said. “That’s why they do it.”

(See related story.)

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