LAYTON — Civilian employees at Hill AFB can breathe a little easier this week, although federal sequestration drags on.
On Tuesday, Aug. 6, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that furloughs related to the budget reductions will be reduced from 11 days per employee to six days.
The change in plans comes after the defense department negotiated budget rules with Congress, froze all civilian hiring, laid off temporary workers and made cuts in facilities maintenance and more, according to the announcement from Hagel.
But the issue of reducing costs is far from settled.
“This has been one of the most volatile and uncertain budget cycles the Department of Defense has ever experienced,” he said.
Within months, fiscal year 2014 will begin, and that could bring more forced time off.
“If Congress does not change the Budget Control Act, (the department) will be forced to cut an additional $52 billion,” in fiscal year 2014, Hagel’s announcement reads. “This represents 40 percent more than this year’s sequester-mandated cuts of $37 billion. Facing this uncertainty, I cannot be sure what will happen next year, but I want to assure our civilian employees that we will do everything possible to avoid more furloughs.”
The readiness of the military has been “seriously degraded” by the sequester-related funding cuts, Hagel wrote in a memorandum to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other military leaders.