The Defense Department will take an additional two weeks to analyze the impact of the newly passed continuing spending legislation before it issues furlough notices to its civilian employees, announced Pentagon Press Secretary George Little on Thursday. “We have not made any decision on whether or not the total number of planned furlough days for Fiscal 2013 will change as a result of this delay,” said Little in a March 21 release. “We believe the delay is a responsible step to take in order to assure our civilian employees that we do not take lightly the prospect of furloughs and the resulting decrease in employee pay,” he added. Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale announced earlier this month that furloughs could begin as early as April 26 unless Congress acted to end budget sequestration, which kicked in on March 1. Pentagon officials have said employees would be furloughed for up to 22 days—resulting in roughly a 20 percent pay cut—for the remainder of the fiscal year.
While the Air Force is keeping a seemingly optimistic outlook about the future of its MH-139 Grey Wolf fleet, despite problems receiving FAA certification, another of the service’s helicopter programs is being prematurely curtailed—and officials are already considering what might come next.