Hagel notes adverse impact on civilian
|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
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.”