Growing Unease Among DOD Civilians

There is “increasing unease” among the Pentagon’s civilian employees about how budget sequestration will affect them, Robert Hale, Defense Department comptroller, told lawmakers last week. “I don’t blame them. I’m very worried for them,” said Hale in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on Sept. 20. While funding accounts for uniformed military personnel are exempt from sequestration cuts, DOD’s civilian employees “will be directly affected” by the cuts, said Hale. He added, “We would probably have to have a hiring freeze and I suspect we’d have to consider unpaid furloughs.” That, in turn, “could leave us without enough personnel to fix our weapons, including the ones that are damaged in war, to maintain a strong program of contracting, and to sustain financial management and audit efforts, as well as many other support functions,” said Hale. Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry Spencer echoed Hale’s comments at the same hearing. “There is, I think, some growing anxiety, particularly with our civilians . . . because of the uncertainty. They don’t know what’s gonna happen,” he said. (Hale’s joint prepared statement)