The Department of Defense today officially informed Congress of its intent to impose furloughs on the Department of Defense's entire civilian workforce as it copes with the automatic spending cuts known as "sequestration." The furlough program will go forward if sequestration is not avoided. Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee made the following statement on the furloughs:
"This is sad but not unexpected news, the House Armed Services Committee predicted over a year ago that sequester would result in mass furloughs and layoffs of civilian employees. Since that time, the House voted twice to resolve sequester and avoid these furloughs. These men and women, many of whom have dedicated their careers to their country, deserve better than to be treated as pawns in a game of political brinksmanship. Unfortunately, while my colleagues and I were sounding the alarm and finding solutions, the Commander-in-Chief was persistently unengaged, refusing to allow the Pentagon to plan for these cuts. As these cuts loom, the 'balanced' proposals President Obama has belatedly embraced to prevent sequestration include tens of billions in additional cuts to our military, cuts that could put many of these jobs in jeopardy even without the meat axe of sequestration. Republicans in the House and Senate have repeatedly put forward proposals that cut spending, spur economic growth, and protect national security. It is only the President's political desire to raise taxes yet again, as a function of the sequester he proposed, while ignoring reforms to the unsustainable entitlement programs driving our debt, that is forcing this crisis to continue."
In September, 2011 the House Armed Services Committee released an impact assessment detailing the consequences of funding cuts to the military and sequestration. That assessment forecasted a minimum furlough of 25% of the defense civilian workforce. Last week, the Joint Chiefs of Staff testified before the House Armed Services Committee, detailing the full impact of sequestration. Highlights of that testimony can be found here. In contrast to the White House's repeated calls for additional cuts to the military as part of any resolution of sequester, Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said," What do you want your military to do? If you want it to be doing what it's doing today, then we can't give you another dollar."