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By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Robert F. Hale
At the Pentagon, some civilians are more essential than others. Civilians in the public affairs office that supports Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have returned from furlough during the 2-week-old partial government shutdown. But those in Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's public affairs office remain on unpaid leave, even though they perform the same duties in the same agency.
Lawmakers pointed to the National Security Agency contractor who leaked top secret information about NSA's telecommunications surveillance program as a consequence of a bloated, expensive contracting workforce.
Defense officials urged lawmakers Tuesday to consider reforming the TRICARE military health care program and shutting down underused bases around the country — moves that would be unpopular among pro-military voters and localities dependent on commerce from the facilities.
The Pentagon will decide in the next two or three weeks whether it will require its 800,000 civilian workers to take unpaid leave this year, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told Congress on Tuesday.
He called on lawmakers to end the shutdown, saying that the lapse has forced the Pentagon to waste time and "a good deal of the public's money."
Mr. Hale said the law the defense secretary to determine who would be recalled, "which our lawyers concluded clearly implied that a blanket recall was not supported."