More than 6,200 Defense Department civilians may lose their jobs in Fiscal 2014 if sequestration continues unchanged and the Pentagon has to shed some $52 billion from its $526.6 billion budget request, reported Bloomberg, citing a pre-decisional, draft Pentagon budget document. While that is less than 1 percent of the civilian workforce, this step would go beyond the six days of furloughs that the Pentagon instituted for most of its civilian employees in this fiscal year. Unspecified “targeted reductions” would be necessary for the Air Force to get down to a planned civilian end strength of 185,400, according to Bloomberg’s Aug. 23 report. At the same time, the Army would lose more than 2,100 civilians, the Navy nearly 2,700, and defense agencies some 1,500. The Army also would release 1,000 contractors, according to Bloomberg. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told Congress in July that DOD would have to consider involuntary civilian reductions-in-force if the budget sequester remains in effect next fiscal year, which starts on Oct. 1.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.