More than 800 civilian Department of Defense workers at the Carlisle Barracks — almost 80 percent of the barracks' total workforce — will be among those who may be furloughed once a week as a part of the DOD’s plan to cut back on costs and meet reductions in its budget.

Lt. Col. Elizabeth Robbins, spokesperson for the Pentagon, said Wednesday officials presented their plan to Congress that would enable them to furlough certain full-time personnel one day a week for the last 22 weeks of the fiscal year. Nationwide. the Department of Defense furloughs would affect more than 800,000 civilian workers.

The furloughs are the first step in a plan to cover the $500 billion in automatic budget cuts for the Department of Defense that may kick in March 1 should there be no action by Congress or the president. Robbins said the cuts are especially tough on the department given last year’s budget cuts, as a part of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which were scheduled to be implemented over the next 10 years.

“We’ve already absorbed $487 billion — it’s the addition of the $500 billion that is really making things difficult,” she said. “We have $1.2 trillion less coming into our coffers.”

Robbins estimates the furloughs could generate $4-5 billion, but that still leaves about tens of billions of dollars to go in reducing costs.

Cuts

Even though furloughs will be a fraction of the money the Department of Defense needs to save, it is enough to cause concern for many area residents.

Col. Bobby Towery, deputy commandant of the U.S. Army War College, sent out a letter to staff at the Carlisle Barracks about what the furloughs mean and how it will affect those in Carlisle.

Towery explained the furloughs will affect full-time employees, except for civilians deployed in combat zones, those involved in safety of life or property, employees funded 100 percent with non-appropriated funds, foreign nationals and employees exempt by law, such as presidential appointees.

That means that 80 percent of the barracks’ workforce — 834 civilian employees — will be affected by the furloughs, should they be instituted. This includes the workforce at the U.S. Army War College, Dunham Army Health Clinic, the Dental Clinic, multiple tenant organizations, Defense Commissary Activity and the U.S. Army Garrison that provides basic services and support, Towery said.

If implemented, the furloughs could result in reduced services at military treatment facilities, at the commissary and with garrison services. Towery said active duty medical care and activities related to life, safety and security will be protected.

The deputy commandant said all workers who could be affected by the furlough will be notified if the furlough plan is implemented.

“Specific processes and notices are required for planned furloughs,” Towery said. “In mid-to-late March, employees must be notified if there is to be a furlough. Additionally, furlough decision letters would be given to employees furlough proposal notices must be given to employees — approximately in late April and no earlier than 30 days after the furlough proposal notice.”

Security

In addition to services cut, Staff Sgt. Matt Jones warned the furloughs could affect the response time from the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

Jones is the public affairs specialist for the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, which will also be affected by furloughs, though it will not directly affect active guard members.

“In Carlisle, we have 115 traditional National Guard members,” Jones said. “There will be no direct affect on members, but the effect for them will be on their ability to train.”

Jones said furloughs and reduction in costs would cause guard members to spend less on travel and spend more time training locally or on the computer system.

“Our ability to train will be significantly reduced,” he said. “Basically our full-time staff does the training. They’d train, but the quality of that training is not what is required of them.”

Jones said it could affect how quickly the National Guard is able to respond to disasters in the country and abroad.

“It’s not going to make us unable to respond to national disasters, but it will make it significantly harder to do so,” he said.

Robbins added the furloughs will also have an effect on the local economy. The furloughs will cause an estimated loss of 20 percent in an individual’s pay over the 22 weeks.

“It’s going to have a significant effect on the local economy,” she said. “If you or I lose a day in the (work) week, we’d be less prone to eat out or get that new pair of running shoes. We’re expecting about $150 million less entering the economy in Pennsylvania.”

Jones said the furloughs, if approved, would not start immediately.

“Nothing is in effect yet. Even when the sequestration goes into effect March 1, nothing’s going to happen the next day. It will be rolled out gradually. They’ll probably be at the end of April.”

Reductions

While furloughs are just the first step in dealing with budget cuts from the Department of Defense, the area is also preparing for other reductions.

“The furloughs alone will not create adequate cost-cutting,” Towery said. “In addition to furloughs, the Army War College itself is absorbing a $9 million budget cut for the rest of fiscal 2013.”

Towery said budget reduction changes include a hiring freeze, reductions in travel, use of video-teleconferencing instead of guest speakers, cancelation or reduction of conferences and canceled public events, such as the Army Heritage Days, which were recently canceled.

The Pennsylvania Army National Guard faces a $30.81 million reduction under the automatic budget cuts.

Jones said the Pennsylvania Army National Guard has already made cuts over the years, especially when it comes to public events. He explained they’ve all but gotten rid of fly-overs and have cut back on providing colorguards and bands. The reductions also mean little or no maintenance of some of the guard’s facilities across the state, including some that are several decades old and require the work, Jones said.

For Jones, the budget cuts mean reductions in places that cannot afford to see cuts.

“This is really indiscriminate cutting,” he said. “If you had to cut the budget, it should be with a scalpel, not with a butcher knife. With this reduction, we can’t reduce (spending) without affecting our ability to respond to home emergencies or deploy overseas.”

USA Today reported Tuesday the cuts may also mean a $19 million reduction at Fort Indiantown Gap in Lebanon County and as much as $442 million in reduction at Letterkenny Army Depot in Franklin County. Letterkenny forwarded questions to the Pentagon Wednesday.

With ideas still in the process of getting approved and in some cases being made, Towery said all the barracks is doing locally is to make sure they can still do what they need to.

“Prudent local planning for the possibility of a furlough must occur to determine how to balance concern for employees while still meeting our core mission requirements,” he said.


Posted earlier on Cumberlink:

Furloughing full-time civilian personnel will be the start of many more cuts to come for the U.S. Army and area military bases.

Lt. Col. Elizabeth Robbins, spokesperson for the Pentagon, said Wednesday they have presented a plan to Congress that would enable them to furlough certain full-time personnel one day a week for the last 22 weeks of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.  Additionally, officials say changes will likely take effect in April (not March 1 when the sequestration starts).

The furloughs would generate $4-5 billion. However, the military still has $71 billion to go in reducing costs.

With an estimated 20 percent drop in pay for the affected personnel — which primarily includes civilian staff — the furloughs will affect the local economy and bases like the Carlisle Barracks, Letterkenny Army Depot in in Franklin County and Fort Indiantown Gap in Lebanon County.

The Pennsylvania Army National Guard also expects the furloughs will affect its ability to immediately respond to disasters both in the United States and abroad.

“It’s not going to make us unable to respond to national disasters, but it will make it significantly harder to do so,” said Staff Sgt. Matt Jones, public affairs specialist at the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

Posted Tuesday on Cumberlink:

The Central Pennsylvania region will take a hit from the Army's automatic budget cuts.

USA Today reported Tuesday it obtained Army documents that show the estimated cuts will have a $15 billion economic impact and affect more than 300,000 jobs nationwide.

In a state by state breakdown from USA Today, Pennsylvania — along with Texas and Virginia — is one of the hardest hit states, with millions in reduction to three area depots alone.

According to USA Today, the Army cuts will cause a $9 million reduction at Carlisle Barracks, a $442 million reduction at Letterkenny Army Depot and a $19 million reduction at Fort Indiantown Gap.

Tobyhanna Army Depot in eastern Pennsylvania will see a $309 million reduction, USA Today said.

In Pennsylvania alone, there will be 8,421 defense civilians furloughed — a loss of $50 million in pay — 212 private sector jobs lost from reduced military investments, 79 jobs lost from decreased military construction, 1,570 jobs lost due to decreased depot operations and 132 BOS contractor jobs impacted, USA Today reported.

Dave Brooks, owner of Alibis Eatery and Spirits on North Pitt Street, described the cutbacks as disappointing considering the influx of customers from the U.S. Army War College and Carlisle Barracks.

“We certainly have a good patronage from the folks at the War College,” he said. “They are certainly not the major component of our clientele, but a critical percentage.”

Brooks said his restaurant often doubles as an “off-site” for classes at the college during the fall in hopes of attracting new students as regular customers.

“We call it our recruitment time,” he said.

But Brooks doesn’t worry about the automatic budget cuts eating into his profits.

“I’m sure it will have some impact,” he said. “But I don’t think it will affect what we do here.”

There will be a $30.81 million reduction for the Pennsylvania National Guard, and the cuts will affect contractors, including BAE Systems, Boeing, General Dynamics and Medico Industries, USA Today reported.

Federal dollars fund 96 percent of the Pennsylvania National Guard and with a 12-13 percent cut on the horizon, the organization will start notifying employees of lay-offs and furloughs as soon as March 1, according to abc27.

USA Today estimated there will also be a $7 million reduction in base operations, $254 million reduction in acquisition and military industrial base investments, $21 million in project cancellations for military construction and $751 million in reduction to depot operations.

Overall, it could mean a $1.1 billion economic loss with 10,414 jobs affected, USA Today reported.

Currently in the state, USA Today said there are 4,772 full-time military personnel, 23,943 in the guard or reserve and 15,378 full-time civilians.

“It’s dangerous that the president and his cronies in Washington can’t get their act together to cut the bloated welfare programs that are drowning us in debt,” said state House Representative Stephen Bloom, R-199. “And instead, they are choosing to cut our nation’s military to the bone, risking our national security and the safety of our brave soldiers. I am appalled by the president’s shortsighted actions and I will continue working with our local U.S. congressional delegation in the fight for long overdue entitlement spending cuts that don’t gut our military readiness.”

USA Today said the military faces $500 billion in budget cuts over 10 years from sequestration, or automatic budget cuts, which means an estimated cut of $18 billion in spending by the end of the fiscal year.

USA Today reported the cuts will affect every Army installation.

Comparatively across the country, Texas will be the hardest hit with 34,734 jobs affected and $2.4 billion in reductions. Virginia may see cuts affecting 25,360 jobs and $1 billion in reduction, while Alabama will have 25,177 jobs affected and see a reduction of $1.87 billion, according to USA Today.

The newspaper also reported sequestration will lower funding caps for the Department of Defense between fiscal years 2014-2021, which will dramatically cut personnel, modernization and readiness funding in future years.

For fiscal year 2013, the Army will reduce the contracted workforce, terminate temporary employees and not extend term employees, implement a hiring freeze, divert all facilities restoration and modernization funds, cancel third and fourth quarter Depot Maintenance inductions, reduce base operations support levels and cancel collective and individual training, USA Today said.

USA Today said the Army estimates the cumulative economic impact to be $15.35 billion and affect 302,626 jobs.


Posted earlier on Cumberlink:

USA Today reported Tuesday that Pennsylvania is one of three hardest hit states in the U.S. Army's budget cuts scheduled to take effect March 1.

The newspaper reported it obtained documents from the Army, which estimates its cuts will have a $15 billion economic impact and affect more than 300,000 jobs nationwide.

Among those affected are Pennsylvania, including the Carlisle Barracks, Letterkenny Army Depot and Fort Indiantown Gap.

According to USA Today, the Army cuts will cause a $9 million reduction at Carlisle Barracks, a $442 million reduction at Letterkenny Army Depot and a $19 million reduction at Fort Indiantown Gap.

In Pennsylvania alone, there will be 8,421 defense civilians furloughed – a loss of $50 million in pay – 212 private sector jobs lost from reduced military investments, 79 jobs lost from decreased military construction, 1,570 jogs lost due to decreased depot operations and 132 BOS contractor jobs impacted, USA Today reported.

For more on this story, check back to Cumberlink and check out The Sentinel's print edition on Wednesday.

(18) comments

CarlisleGirl
CarlisleGirl

' "...bloated welfare programs that are drowning us in debt,” said state House Representative Stephen Bloom, R-199.' Is that what he calls Medicare? Think about it, folks. Sequestration is not a plot by the current administration, as Bloom implies. We need all our representatives to stop their partisan bickering and start doing what they were elected to do: solve problems then go beyond and make improvements. Earn your keep, Congress! Do just as we do at home - earn more or spend less.

pystil
pystil

Rep Stephen Bloom a tea party Republican wants reduced spending, but does not like it when it happens in his back yard. He knows money spent on 'welfare' is nothing compared to military spending. If Bloom means entitlement spending, 'welfare' and food stamps are a small part compared to medicare. The simple truth is people on Medicare, our seniors, are using more medical services than they paid for. The irony is many of the tea party are seniors, and they are the ones on Mr Bloom's 'welfare'.

jeremy13
jeremy13

Obama would have us believe that more public welfare = more compassion. He is ignorant of Ben Franklin's wise quote on poverty "I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed...that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer."

Richard
Richard

In his 1/17/1961 farewell speech, President Dwight Eisenhower stated: "The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded." The military-industrial complex has grown into a beast that controls a huge part of our economy. It appears that it, like Wall Street and Big Banks, has become "too big to fail" or be cut. Those who live by the sword, get their budget cut by the budget sword

pystil
pystil

We had a choice, we had an election and the people wanted Rep Barletta and spending cuts. Well here they are. Instead of a congress working together to cut with a scalpel, we have the blunt axe. This is a victory for the Tea Party, they are still the tail that wags the Republican party.

michael
michael

Hmmmmmmmmm.
hey, found this neat thing called a Pie Chart on this place called the internet. Wow!
Interest on debt,Social Security,Medicare,Medicaid CHIP,and Safety net programs, all domestic spending, OVER 68%. Military 20%. It came from some place called the Congressional Budget Office.
So do you trolls only read Barrys' lips? Maybe give finanacial information a try. LOL!!!!!! Let the cuts begin!!!!

pystil
pystil

Look at it this way, 800 civilian jobs lost, but if these are really important critical jobs that can not be cut then it will mean 800 new job openings for our returning Vets. Win Win.

PastisPrologue
PastisPrologue

Apparently, you have no reading comprehension: 800 jobs will not be lost, just subject to furloughs which will amount to each employee having to take one unpaid work day a week for 22 weeks...so there wont be jobs for vets...learn to read.

Carl Lyle
Carl Lyle

I believe our Commander-in-Thief Barry Obama is the person who came up with 'sequestration'. He owns it. And I agree with it. He talks fairness and what could be fairer than the bloated public sector bearing the same burdens those in the private sector (those who actually pay for the gov't) have had to endure for the past four years.

Matthew
Matthew

He may have proposed it, but Congress passed it and the vote wasn't even close. In the House, the vote was 269-161 (174 Republicans and 95 Democrats for, 66 Republicans and 95 Democrats against). In the Senate the vote was 74-26 (28 Republicans and 45 Democrats for, 19 Republicans and 6 Democrats against). Republicans COULD have blocked its passage. But they didn't.

Carl Lyle
Carl Lyle

Why would the Republicans block it...it's the only time the proposer has agreed to cutting the bloated Federal gov't. As I said, I'm all for it and hopeful for even more.

Matthew
Matthew

Sequestration was never supposed to happen. When it was concocted back in 2011 by a bipartisan committee as part of the deal to raise the debt ceiling, it was intended to be so onerous, so outrageous to both parties that they would be forced to come to an agreement before it could take effect. It's a purely arbitrary, self-imposed forced deadline. BTW, Social Security, Medicaid and other low-income programs, and all VA programs are exempt from the sequester. Medicare cuts are limited to 2%.

Teamstr88
Teamstr88

Never fails that politics get in the way of hard working, honest Americans. Pathetic. At all levels, our govt cannot not help but messing things up and just getting in the way of progress.

Richard
Richard

The same people who brought you sequestration would deal with a gigantic meteor hurling toward earth thusly: "we'll keep the meteor from hitting the earth by blowing the earth up!". If these people are the best we can find to run this nation, we are surely screwed. The enemy isn’t conservatism. The enemy isn’t liberalism. The enemy is idiocy no matter its origin. Good luck to us all.

USAF
USAF

The US Government could cut at least 20% of the federal employee's and see no impact!! I worked at two government installations as a Computer Specialist(Army Finance Center) and FMSO Mechanicsburg. I know both could have cut over 25% with no affect on the performance of their mission. Its time to down size the government or we all go down!!

pystil
pystil

Yes there is a lot of fat in all our government yet some areas could use more money. Remember Rumsfeld's "you go with what you have " comment.

pystil
pystil

If we downsize our military and they no longer become as big a threat to implement 'tyranny ' on our citizens, does this mean our citizens will no longer need our militia and we can have reasonable gun control?

pystil
pystil

When I see 800 people walking down Hanover Street I will believe these cuts are real, and the people affected by these budget cuts object.

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