Message from Secretary Hagel on Furloughs

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Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel

A message from Secretary of Defense Hagel on civilian furloughs:

To all Department of Defense personnel:

As you are fully aware, the Department of Defense is facing a historic shortfall in our budget for the current fiscal year. This is the result of current law that went into effect March 1. It imposes deep across-the-board cuts on DoD and other federal agencies. Combined with higher than expected wartime operating costs, we are now short more than $30 billion in our operation and maintenance (O&M) accounts – which are the funds that we use to pay most civilian employees, maintain our military readiness, and respond to global contingencies.

The Department has been doing everything possible to reduce this shortfall while ensuring we can defend the nation, sustain wartime operations, and preserve DoD’s most critical asset – our world-class civilian and military personnel. To that end, we have cut back sharply on facilities maintenance, worked to shift funds from investment to O&M accounts, and reduced many other important but non-essential programs.

Still, these steps have not been enough to close the shortfall. Each of the military services has begun to significantly reduce training and maintenance of non-deployed operating forces – steps that will adversely impact military readiness. And even these reductions are not enough. Since deeper cuts to training and maintenance could leave our nation and our military exposed in the event of an unforeseen crisis, we have been forced to consider placing the majority of our civilian employees on administrative furlough.

After extensive review of all options with the DoD’s senior military and civilian leadership on how we address this budget crisis, today I am announcing that I have decided to direct furloughs of up to 11 days for most of the Department’s civilian personnel. I have made this decision very reluctantly, because I know that the furloughs will disrupt lives and impact DoD operations. I recognize the significant hardship this places on you and your families.

After required notifications, we will begin the furlough period on July 8 at the rate of one furlough day per week for most personnel. We plan to continue these furloughs through the end of the current fiscal year. If our budgetary situation permits us to end furloughs early, I would strongly prefer to do so. That is a decision I will make later in the year.

Furloughs for 11 days represent about half of the number we had originally planned, reflecting the Department’s vigorous efforts to meet our budgetary shortfalls through actions other than furlough. There will be exceptions driven by law and by the need to minimize harm to the execution of our core missions. For example, all employees deployed or temporarily assigned to a combat zone will be excepted from furloughs.

Your managers have been given authority to develop specific furlough procedures to minimize adverse mission effects and also limit the harm to morale and productivity. They will be in touch with you to provide guidance and answers.

The President and I are deeply appreciative of your patience, your hard work, and your dedication and contributions to the critical mission of helping protect America’s national security. I am counting on all of you to stay focused on this vital mission in the days ahead. As I said the day I assumed the responsibilities of Secretary of Defense, I’m proud to be part of your team and I’m proud to serve with you.

Click here to view Secretary Hagel’s memorandum on furlough decisions.

For Office of the Secretary of Defense furlough-related information click here.

For Office of Personnel Management furlough-related information click here.

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  • RackDaddy

    “Click here to view Secretary Hagel’s memorandum on furlough decisions.” = 404 — File not found.

    • 404 – Government not found

    • TiffaniWalker

      RackDaddy, we have fixed the issue with the attached .pdf and added a couple of links to other content from the OPM.

  • Thanks for letting us know, we are working on this now. -tw

  • jjh1983

    What kind of cuts will you be getting, Secretary Hagel? Will your vehicle, home, and credit card payments be at risk like ours? Will you have to balance out the pros and cons of bankrupcy as well? Or is it easier for you to live within your means because you make over $40K a year? I’m just curious how supportive you really are.

    • hi

      I’m with you. Got BRAC’d and spent a lot of money to move that the GOV has yet to reimburse me for. (They even said they won’t but thats a different fight) Now I am faced with that hardship like you. Best of luck to you.

    • Steve

      “The secretary plans to subject his pay to furlough levels even though
      he’s not required to because he is a presidentially appointed,
      Senate-confirmed official in this department,” Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters on Tuesday.

    • TiffaniWalker


      “In solidarity with the Defense Department’s 800,000 civilian employees facing furloughs, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he will voluntarily return part of his salary to the U.S. Treasury…”

  • S C

    I hope DoD addresses the interplay of LWOP status and leave accrual. If they dont, expect to not accrue any sick or personal leave for the last 2 pay periods of furlough, sooner if you’ve already taken LWOP to, for example, fulfull your reserve commitments. Why cant I take all of my furlough days at once again? As long as managers do their job to ensure missions continue to be accomplished, it’s just like I took leave for 2 weeks, and at least I might be able to get short term work for a 2 week period to make up for my lost income…one day off a week wont let me do that.

    • SC, there will be more guidance in the upcoming days about how this will play out. We added some links to OPM information in the blog post that might help address this, too. -tw

    • TiffaniWalker

      Generally, there is no impact to benefits; however, after 80 hours in a non-pay status, employees will lose one day of sick leave and one day of annual leave. Furloughed employees can expect to lose one day of sick leave and one day of annual leave for the last pay period of this fiscal year.

  • TES

    Thanks for coming to the Mark Center and bringing the news in person. This is a time to stick together. I too will be struggling to make ends meet, like JJH below, but I know we will all be in our right place with what we need, not necessarily what we want. Onward!

  • Ice

    Thanks for “finally” making this call. It has been hard planning my summer with knowing when my one day a week off would start. Please stick with it.

  • AM

    Please allow us to take these furlough days in the increments and times we decide… as in being able to attach it to a vacation, or during a time that will have more beneficence and control for us and our families. Is there any way to do that? Thank you for making it less.

    • TiffaniWalker

      Generally, furloughs will be no more than 11 discontinuous work days (88 hours) and will be spread over maximum months at no more than 16 hours per pay period. You should talk with your unit about how they will implement furloughs, they will have the best information about how this will impact you and your job.

    • TiffaniWalker


      Generally, furloughs will be no more than 11 discontinuous work days (88 hours)and will be spread over maximum months at no more than 16 hours per pay period. You should talk with your unit about how they will implement furloughs.

  • Steve

    Does Sec. Hagel get to take 11 days too? Or is he priviledged like Congress. A true Fortunate Son.

  • Nicole1006

    Will ft Bragg nc did firefighters be getting cuts too?

    • TiffaniWalker

      Nicole 1006,
      You should talk with Ft. Bragg leadership for information on that specific installation but civilians necessary to maintain safety and life and protect property will be exempt from furlough.

  • MTB

    I think we have already suffered enough as DoD civilian employees. (i.e. pay freezes for the last 3-4 years, no incentive bonus/time-off awards this year, being held hostage while awaiting a final furlough decision, having to cancel family plans for the summer, trying to figure out how we are going to make mortgage/car payments and provide for our families in the upcoming months on 20% less pay. If we were going to be furloughed all along it should have started from the beginning at the rate of 1 day per period. 10% pay reduction is much easier to try and make up rather than 20%. Poor decision making in D.C. is how we got here, but we are the ones that have to suffer! just not fair!

    • TheGuy

      I believe you should just be happy to be employed at this point. Also, if a 20% pay cut is going to put you in the hole; there is noone to blame, but yourself. If a 20% pay decrease for a short term is going to affect you hat bad, you’re obviously living above your means already. That would be what we like to call living a champaign life on a beer salary. Get over it, you can’t stop it. If it bothers you that bad stop working for the DoD and go to the Civil side.

      • TheGuy- while everyone is obviously happy to be employed-one cant jump to conclusions that MTB is living above his means. What if he is a GS 11 married to a GS 11 living in DC and they are both looking at taking a 20% cut? He is laying out the facts and venting and the last time that I checked-that is what these venues are for.

      • Brian

        How much does a GS 11 make?

      • Azcat85

        A GS-11, Step 1 in Wash, DC/Md area makes $62,467 base a year.

      • brian

        That’s easily enough to raise a family on. with two GS-11 salaries, you’re living a lot better than most of us.!

      • TiffaniWalker

        The complete General Schedule is here:, but keep in mind this varies based on location, time in service and step level.

      • brian

        SO if I read correctly, a GS 11 level 1 is making 50 grand a year, so if two GS 11’s are married, making 100 k. And take a 20% redeuction, For a new Gross of 80k. You somehow think that isn’t enough money to live on? Cause personally, I raise a family of 5, on less income than that in the NYC suburbs and it isn’t a problem! IMO if we didn’t have so much Tax Fraud in this country, by “greedy corporate America” the gov’t wouldn’t be in this situation!

      • How about a single mom as a GS11 taking a 20% paycut! I am back to 16 years ago pay. Thanks for your compassion. Nice person. Have you also seen how expensive it is to live in DC? Take a look online.

      • SKF

        Wow! Talking about jumping to conclusions! There are many reasons a person can experience hardship – medical costs, care-giving, and any number of reasons. It really doesn’t matter what the reason, find some compassion for your fellow human being!

      • wayno

        That’s a rather narrow outlook, my friend. You have no idea what anyone else’s personal situation might be — death of a spouse, divorce, recent GS hire after a long period of unemployment, etc. If this bothers you so much, perhaps you should take your own advice and go contract.

      • Taz77

        TheGuy- while I am happy to be employed. A 10-20% cut each pay period will impact not only my ability to pay my monthly bills but will impact the assistance I give to others in family. My child in college, my elderly mother who is on a very limited income; my sister’s family where my brother-in-law has been out of work for 1 1/2 years (laid off) and his unemployment has ran out. What are they going to do to cover the money I can no longer give them? It seems only fair that Congress/Senate and their staff should also be required to give up a matching amount.

      • brian

        Taz77. WHile noble to take care of your kid in college, elderly mother and sisters family, it’s not your job. To say you’re owed something cause you won’t have the money to take care of them come off a little selfish. Many private sector employees don’t have enough to take care of their own families. Keep things in perspective!

      • The private sector makes more than I do but I am in the DoD for job stability???? I love my job even though I have been through 8 bosses in 4 years. I need the retirement. I had to take care of my mother for 5 years before she passed away and had to work every day. Never knowing if I was going to come home and find her on the floor from falling down the stairs. I couldn’t afford to put her in a nursing home. Now I am losing 20% of my pay.

  • FrankM82

    Thank you for letting us keep our jobs…. a RIF would be catastrophic!

  • DoD Scum

    This is quite possibly the greatest insult I’ve ever suffered at the hands of my own government. Pay the Saudis, the Egyptians, the Syrians, the Libyans, the Iraqis and the Afghanis… but take my pay because it’s expendable and I’m worth less. Bent over and screwed and we got NO voice to cry rape.



  • DOD Welfare

    wow amazing how republicans on the public teat are so reluctant to let go even though the DOD is bankrupting the budget. The bottom line we can no longer afford to spend billions on programs like aircraft carriers that do nothing to keep us safe and put us in harms way

    • JHammer

      It is the republicans’ fault?? how about our Government stop giving away all of this money that we DO NOT HAVE to people that contributed nothing to this nation or this society except to diminish it overall! And the mindset of deep Defense cuts is extrememly misinformed! I am quite sure that when this great nation has been attacked, you were the first one losing bodily functions due to fear! I personally WANT those Aircraft carriers and jets and troops in place to defend those unable to defend themselves and to Defend this nation! I also have been serving for 30 years! 25 in a full time capacity for this government. It is not welfare, it is an earned paycheck. Welfare is the free money for the Free loaders that do Nothing except breed more freeloaders. I have volunteered and I am currently in harms way so that you can sleep well at night and have your free speech. Expletives I am thinking for you and your attitude will remain in my head, but I will offer to you this, If you do not like it, Leave, go somewhere else to find your utopia

    • Azcat85

      DOD is bankrupting the budget? You are an uninformed a$$ clown that spouts progressive dribble. How about the SS, welfare medicaid and medicare costs? Ohh.. the progressive sacred cows can not be touched. How about the Depts of Education and Energy that have not realized the intent and purpose of their creation. Why not delete those? Oh..another sacred cow of the progressive narrow mindset….The list goes on, but I tire from the deaf ears they fall upon….

      • Ok speaking of all of the other programs…SS, medicaid, medicare…how about the people that are slipping across our borders and then they go onto all of these programs when they haven’t paid a penny into them. No more anchor babies, no more amnesty. If you want to come into the country show that you have money first before you come in and start sucking on the government nipple!

  • SKF

    Why did you put off the decision for so long? We could have taken 11 days over a 22 week period. That would have been a challenge but not nearly as hard as taking 11 days in 11 weeks. I don’t see where you or anyone else on the Hill was concerned about the reduction in pay that will affect me. Yeah, the mission will get done because that’s what we do in spite of bad decisions. But personal lives will suffer by this decision. And you have ensured our difficulty.

    • TiffaniWalker

      The DoD wanted to revise planning to take full advantage of changes in the appropriations bill enacted in March. This also gave DoD time to “scrub” the budget in order to minimize furloughs.

  • Len McAntosh

    I’m just wondering how many days of furlough are you taking each pay period!! I know that you are stuck in between a rock and a hard spot but I think that a sacrifice from the top would make a major statement.

    • Steve

      “The secretary plans to subject his pay to furlough levels even though
      he’s not required to because he is a presidentially appointed,
      Senate-confirmed official in this department,” Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters on Tuesday.

    • TiffaniWalker

      Len, “In solidarity with the Defense Department’s 800,000 civilian employees facing furloughs, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he will voluntarily return part of his salary to the U.S. Treasury…”
      From the news story:

      • one person and then 800,000 losing 11 days of pay! Wow! and how much of that pay is going back? Is anyone else going to do this?? Hell no!

  • Cindy

    Our Government is a disgrace to the American people! Our military has fought for us in this Country since this Country was founded! You should all be fired and replaced. Our men and women in the Military deserve a lot more Respect, Honor, support! STOP giving our hard earned money to other Countries… We as the people, support our military.. Not Egypt, Syria, and the rest of these countries that you are giving OUR money to!!! You all will answer for what you are doing… You will be held accountable! God Bless ALL of our soldiers, and all of our military!!

    • brian

      I think, that while we all respect the men and women in the Military serving our country worldwide. A good majority of Americans, wish that unneccesary war in Iraq never happened. For many reasons, one of them being financially. But I do agree. God Bless All our soldiers here and abroad.

    • Debbie

      The politicians should be ashamed of themselves. They think they should be above furloughs and budget cuts. They are part of We the People and they should share the furlough days off without pay just like the rest of us. If we can manage to keep our offices running by staggering the days we take off amongst our personnel then they should too. They are no better than we are and how dare they exempt themselves from the very same rules we must live by. The gestures they have made, by contributing money to charities, which equals the percentage of pay we will lose, is not even close to being the same when they are allowed to chose where their lost money goes and we can not. Also, I might add, they are contributing to charities which in turn gives them an additional tax break which we do not get. They should have made their gesture and ensured it went toward the deficit like ours is supposed to do. I think they should not be allowed to break for vacations, summer break or any other reason until they figure it out. I also believe that if the federal government would repay the Social Security fund all the money it has written new policy to allow them to take (basically stolen) from a once protected fund, we also wouldnt have a problem with Social Security money running out. I believe all the government officials who regulate spending should have to take a mandatory budget class to educate them on how to manage the United States money and stop borrowing to pay unforecasted debts.

      • veajae

        I agree, de-regulation–what a joke. They have position themselves above the people who put them in office; using de-regulation as a win-win for themselves. Does not sound like, “We the People”, does it?

      • They retire and keep getting the same pay!! We retire and get a percentage. Hmmmm what is with this? We pay for their kids to take out student loans by hiring them so they don’t have to go into the military and then we pay off the loans! Tell me that isn’t the craziest thing!

    • No kidding! We can’t take care of ourselves so lets send what we have to another country. Does Obama honestly think that if we scratch their back they will scratch ours? Watch out for the damn knife going in!

  • Val

    Civilian workers have been furloughed for years….what makes government workers better than the rest of the world

    • Jen

      We’re not * better * than “the rest of the world”, but the government still must run while businesses can fail and do go out of business from time to time. That is a risk of doing business and working for a business. The federal government should not be failing and closing…I know, in a perfect world. That ultimately is a leadership failure all the way up to the President and Congress and that should concern and upset everyone! I’ll never understand all this bitterness by others in private sector who HAVE BEEN furloughed, knowing the financial problems it causes families having been there yourself, and still wishing that on others. Misery loves company. Did you stop to think some federal workers are MARRIED to those working in private sector and this may be the second hit to their income. We’re not completely immune to what happens in the private sector just because we don’t work it ourselves.

      • Azcat85

        I think though protest too much. Federal employment has increased since Obama has taken office over 35%, while the private sector has declined. Federal government is fueled with tax dollars being supplied by a decreasing working public. If you don’t see an issue with this, you are blind as a bat.

      • may have increased but I sure haven’t seen it in my paycheck! I worked for years getting paid crap. I finally got on with the government 3 years ago. I am in my later 50s and was hoping to get some kind of retirement. I’m not asking for that much. Just to work and make a living. so I think you are blind as a bat.

  • CivTX

    I understand that cuts need to be made, but let’s take the cuts as one team, military and civilians. May requirements have been cut, TDY, trng, conf, ot/ctv… However, I still c many TDYs that r not mission critical, most TDYs r being performed by military. Also, stop giving $$$$ away to all those military retiring. One day they r fine to b active duty and on the first day of retirement they r disable. Stop supplementing retirees pay.

    • Deb

      CivTX-you shouldnt be so fast to judge those retirees. While on active duty they may appear to be fine but most of them have military job related injuries you may not know about and yes they should be compensated for those injuries when they retire. I agree there may be some who play the system but for the most part, retirees are barely getting by on that so called $$$$ the government is giving them. There are more important issues to worry about instead of venting about our veterans, If it were not for them, you wouldnt be safe to move about with all your freedoms. You should honor those retirees and instead vent your thoughts towards the politicians who couldnt pay their way out of jail because they dont know the first thing about a budget. I would hate to see how they run their own home budget because if the federal budget is any indication of how they balance their own budget, we are really in trouble if we dont fire them all.

  • Concerned

    Wow. This is my first view at reading such a forum (for venting) within our DOD workforce and my first time adding a comment for discussion. After serving for most my life and growing up as a poor ole country farm boy, I am amazed at how (for what I consider one of the most educated workforces in the World) self centered successful folks can be. It can feel a bit shameful to be a part of the effort we are part of in taking care of the Warfighter when reading such comments. I believe some folks have been spoiled too much (should have had good butt woopin growing up) and are truely overreacting a bit after we wittnessed how the recession put such a strain on the civil sector while the Government workforce and its contractors did not really feel the effects. OK, we can gripe about loosing retirement money, which afterall, we put in at our own risk to begin with. Too many family’s lost everything they had by selling everything to make ends meet and then still wound up living on the side of the road. We need to check ourselfs a bit, grow up some more and take the little loss affecting us in stride as we finally get a small feeling of what the economy has gone through. And yes, folks on all levels, from the President on down, should share the burden of our leaders mistakes while in the mean time voting them out of office when its time to do so. Back to work for our Warfighters.

    • TiffaniWalker

      From one of the warfighters, thank you!

    • GOVUnionist

      You drank the Kool-aid, didn’t you! We HAVE been sharing the pain, from pay freezes, insurance rates continuing to rise, TSP raids, overtime not allowed, additional work dumped on us by our retiring co-workers, etc. It is not so much as we don’t care, we are ALL very aware of the continued WASTE in government that is costing US pay, leave and hurting our families.

      • Big time waste from our government!!! Not from the civilians. We get a day off a week unpaid to think about the cola raises we haven’t gotten in 3 years.

  • YorkieLover

    Although I am totally against this furlough action, I have a question for all our government leaders. How is that the DOD is the only area where these furloughs are taking place. There are many other agencies which make up the federal government and I feel they should all feel the “pinch” like the DOD civilians have to. After all, this country’s leadership is the reason why this country is in this shape.

    • How about how much the Army is spending?? The Navy and AF have cut way back! Why should we all be punished for one branch of the service.

  • Navy Civilian

    Stop your whining..everyone has had time to prepare and if you can’t afford 11 days over 3 months then you are living beyond your means!!

    • I don’t think you should be so nasty about this. I am living in a house, making a car payment but because of Obama I get to pay 200 a paycheck to have my daughter covered with insurance. I don’t live over my means. I have taken one 1 week vacation in over 15 years. I work for my paycheck but $500 a paycheck is going back to close to the time I was feeding my daughter peanut butter and jelly or mac and cheese. So don’t be a jerk. Yes there has been time but this is still too many days. Our government in DC aren’t getting furloughed…oh wait do you work for them?

  • Army Civ

    For me Im just happy that the time has been cut down, and by doing this if it helps I am all for it.

  • Brian

    The House resolution contained specific wording that would allow civilians supporting the military to go back to work. Yet Secretary Hagel refuses to let civilians employees go back to work because he supports the party over his constitutional duty. Military lives are in danger because many support task are handled by civilians.