The Navy will have “80% capacity and manning coverage” across the department if automatic defense budget cuts begin March 1st and the service is forced to furlough its 186,000 civilians, according to a 10-page document released this week by the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Jonathan Greenert.
Earlier this week, the Pentagon issued memos to its civilian workforce and Congress notifying them of 22-day furloughs that would begin in late April if automatic budget cuts begin next Friday, and are not reversed.
“Virtually all employees subject to furlough,” the Navy document said, noting that “mission-critical” employees are only excepted under “emergency furloughs”, not planned administrative furloughs.
Excepted civilians include those deployed overseas in a combat zone, those who ensure the safety of life or property “to the extent needed to prevent unacceptable risk or catastrophic gaps,” employees funded with non-appropriated funds, those exempted by law such as presidential appointees not eligible for leave, and foreign nationals if exceptions are required by status of forces agreements.
“All medical service civilian employees would be subject to furlough except those that provide 24-hour inpatient care or emergency service, and personnel providing ancillary services directly supporting the 24-hour inpatient care and emergency services,” the document said.
Furloughed employees cannot work from home, work overtime, or replace furloughs with paid vacation time off, it notes. In addition, health care, dental and vision care premiums will remain the same, despite reduced salaries.
“Navy civilians are essential to what we do as a Navy. You repair and maintain our ships, aircraft, and combat systems; plan and manage our budgets; and design and engineer our future force,” Adm. Greenert wrote in a Feb. 20 memo.
“Today, 186,000 Navy civilians serve in every state and 20 countries overseas. I have seen firsthand your dedication, pride, and unwavering commitment, and I appreciate your steadfastness through this challenging time,” he wrote.
The document can be found at www.navy.mil/docs/CivilianFurloughsInfoImpacts_19FEB13.ppt.
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Kristina Wong is a national security reporter for The Washington Times, covering defense, foreign policy and intelligence affairs. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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