Furloughs Kick in for Military Civilians Workers

Mike O'Brien

Furloughs affecting 680,000 civilian workers kicked in today (Monday) with many workers losing up to 20 percent of their pay over the next 11 weeks.

The unpaid time off, which is another effect of automatic federal budget cuts, will impact operations at all American military bases around the world, except those directly involved in combat.

To meet the budget requirements of sequestration, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he regrettably had to reduce the civilian payroll to avoid further reducing the military itself.

Addressing the cutbacks at a press conference , Mr. Hagel said: "We've already cut into readiness. You know that we are standing down 16 Air Force squadrons. We are not sailing a lot of ships. No new training in the Army."

The furloughs are supposed to be across the board for civilian workers, but the DoD has had to work out some exemptions.

While commissaries will close an extra day a week, military day care centers will keep to a regular schedule.

Most shipyard employees working on U.S. Navy projects are exempt, along with civilian workers at Tinker Air Force base in Oklahoma, whose homes were destroyed by the horrendous tornado in May.

Local communities near military bases are bracing for damaging side-effects of the furloughs, including the loss of tens of millions of dollars in revenue.