- ISIL creates all-female brigade to terrorize women into following Sharia law
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama to Latin leaders: Help with border
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
Biodefense, weather, space projects hit hard
Shutdown dries up work in R&D sector
Question of the Day
The nonprofit Aerospace Corp., which works on GPS, weather and military satellites projects for the Air Force, has laid off more than half its staff as the federal shutdown enters its second week.
The Mitre Corp., another nonprofit that works with defense and intelligence agencies, says at least some of its programs have been subject to stop work orders.
And Sandia National Laboratories, which helps oversee the safety of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, is warning it will furlough most of its 18,000 employees later this month without a congressional deal to end the shutdown, according to reports Wednesday.
While much public attention on the shutdown has focused on access to national monuments and the congressional stalemate, federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs), which handle billions of dollars in projects in areas such as biodefense, space and weather, are shedding jobs and slashing costs as work orders dry up.
Often nonprofit organizations, FFRDCs don’t compete with contractors and operate under special agreements with the government.
Citing concern about pending furloughs at Sandia, Los Alamos National Labs and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico, Rep. Stevan Pearce, New Mexico Republican, called on the Department of Energy on Wednesday to guarantee back pay for contract employees at the facilities. The House has previously voted to give out of work federal employees back pay.
“The employees at our national labs and WIPP play a key role in our nation’s defense and growing our economy by focusing on everything from the development of weapons systems to energy efficiency studies,” Mr. Pearce wrote.
The Energy Department did not respond to inquiries about the impact of the shutdown on research institutions sponsored by the department.
But New Mexico isn’t the only state where government research organizations are cutting back.
“We’re authorized to work but we don’t have the funding,” said Sabrina Steele, a spokeswoman for the Aerospace Corp. The California-based nonprofit began a partial shutdown on Oct. 3, after the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center told officials to halt work on all but “excepted mission-critical tasks.”
The move put 2,000 of the institution’s 3,500 employees out of work.
“As the shutdown continues, financial and emotional hardships will exist,” Aerospace Corp. chief executive officer Wanda Austin wrote in a memo to employees Monday.
Closer to Washington, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, which is based at the University of Virginia and operates the world’s largest radio telescope, said it has suspended all U.S. operations because of the shutdown, sending home everyone except a small skeleton crew.
The Mitre Corp., which operates multiple FFRDCs, hasn’t announced any layoffs but officials said they’re working to understand the implications of the shutdown.
“We’ve been informed that some programs are subject to stop work orders,” Mitre spokeswoman Karina Wright wrote in an email. “This is a fluid situation and we are staying in close contact with our sponsors to understand their decisions as the evolve.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Jim McElhatton is an investigative reporter for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- House federal records plan would prevent repeat of IRS email scandal
- Whistleblowers flood VA with lawsuits despite apology
- Outrage over $190M deal for troubled federal contractor USIS
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- White House warned about 'antiquated' VA scheduling system 5 years ago
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- Ted Nugent loses second casino gig for 'racist remarks'
- Russia shipping sophisticated weapons systems to Ukraine separatists
- EDITORIAL: Detroit's water 'spigot bigots'
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- Let it roll: D.C. Council hits Las Vegas on taxpayer's dime, leaves $14,000 tab
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq