ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on January 26th, 2013 at 9:05 am

Many DA Civilians May End Up Being Furloughed

» by in: US Military

This is what many government civilians working for the Army are facing due to the current fiscal budget mess the nation faces:

The Army is allowing only limited exceptions to its hiring freeze now underway, while few current employees would escape unpaid furloughs if sequestration hits.

The military services recently announced an immediate hiring freeze and outlined the potential for furloughs and other steps that might be needed if they must absorb automatic cuts of up to around 10 percent in many of their programs starting in early March. The Army is one of the government’s largest employers of federal workers, with about 280,000 civilian employees.

In a memo dated Tuesday, the Army manpower office said that no new “tentative or firm job offers of civilian employment will be extended after the date of this memorandum. Firm job offers extended prior to the date of this memorandum will be honored provided that the individual’s entry-on-duty date was established for a date certain.”  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read the rest at the link but basically the Army is not hiring civilians for the time being and those who are currently employed are going to be faced with weekly furloughs.  This all reminds me of the Furlough Fridays the state of Hawaii once had to implement to deal with their state budget issues.

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  • Sonagi
    10:37 am on January 26th, 2013 1

    Strangely enough, people in a country that is slowly pulling out of the second-worst economic downturn in its history and hearing repeated threats to cut the retirement benefits they’ve been paying I to for years have decided they can no longer afford to spend more on its. Ilitry than the next ten nations combined. I understand that contractors and civilians don’t want to face unemployment, especially workers with specific skills that are not highly sought after outside the military. However, we cannot afford our global military reach anymore. Yesterdays WaPo published an opinion piece written by Senator James Inhofe, who opposes Chuck Hagel’s nomination because the nominee’s intent to cut defense spending. The views of a US senator who thinks the earth is only 6,000 years old and God let 9/11 happen as punishment for the US not supporting Israel enough were laughed off by hundreds of commenters. Rather than resist the inevitable, the DOD needs to acdept that cuts are going to happen, and start figuring out which cuts would do the least harm to national security.

  • Sonagi
    10:38 am on January 26th, 2013 2

    More on its military than the next ten nations combined

  • Bobby Ray
    12:18 pm on January 26th, 2013 3

    The government aint never been no good at cutting back. When Prohibition ended, they gave all them boys new jobs chasing reefer. Now they pretty much gave up worrying bout reefer so maybe they will just send them all after guns or people growing gardens in their yards. Aint nobody getting cut back in any of them agencies. Heck they want to increase their budgets.

    Does that DOD work any different? Will they let them boys go or shuffle them off to some other department so they dont go on no welfare like the better part of the population these days.

    I guess they can get priority in some of them Homeland Security programs or TSA or one of them departments that just keeps on growing. Come to think of it the military is being cut at the same time they are growing all those domestic military agencies. What do they got on their mind I wonder.

  • MTB Rider
    4:36 pm on January 26th, 2013 4

    Saw a protest banner up at Camp Casey yesterday. The Union is threatening a General Strike if pay is frozen and the U.S. doesn’t start hiring again.

    As usual, most people can’t see beyond the end of their noses. I remember how Hawaii balanced their budget once: The teachers threatened to strike, the governor said “Go Ahead.” The teachers walked out, the governor didn’t pay them, and the money saved up eventually paid for the pay raises the teachers wanted.

    As a science-fiction geek, I can honestly say the problems will get worse before they get better, and not for the usual Sci-Fi reasons. The Machines won’t take over by killing us, they will take over by taking all our jobs. Google Car=Google Taxi and Google Trucking. We laugh about sex-bots, but how long until the sex-bots take over stocking shelves and saying “Welcome to Walmart. Can I help you find something?” We already use drones, how long until combative ground drones are deployed? I’ve played a LOT of video games where remotely piloted tanks play a major role.

    Unless you are an inventor or entrepreneur, or some other job that requires more imagination than hard work and intelligence, you’re probably going to have to start looking for something to do to fill your time…

    Maybe a degree in Theater Arts wasn’t such a bad investment for your sister-in-law…

  • InnocentBystander
    4:47 pm on January 26th, 2013 5

    #4: Wow, your really veered off the topic at hand (sexbots, et al). At any rate, DACs do not have a union in Korea, your banner reference is probably sponsored by the KGS union.

  • Guitard
    5:05 pm on January 26th, 2013 6

    DACs do not have a union in Korea, your banner reference is probably sponsored by the KGS union.

    I can’t imagine that anyone who reads this didn’t already know that.

  • Leon LaPorte
    5:28 pm on January 26th, 2013 7

    DoD 19% of the budget. We could afford to cut DoD a little, get rid of some Generals with their good idea fairies, knowledge walls, etc would help.

    The big problem is social and medical programs. We want European style healthcare and social spending, but we don’t want to pay the taxes to support. Something must give. At this point there is no way out that does not involve both cuts and raising taxes.

  • Bob
    6:28 pm on January 26th, 2013 8

    Of course our military needs to be cut, I think we should focus on cutting people actually (to a degree) I see a lot of waste in the Military. And we could do with quite a few less generals too. Whys the difference between a Colonel and a General anyways?

  • MTB Rider
    6:41 pm on January 26th, 2013 9

    #5
    My point is that many, MANY jobs will be going away, not just KGS or DAC jobs, but almost any non or semi-skilled jobs due to technological advances. And skilled jobs are becoming harder to get. If you’re not doing something that a machine can’t do, you won’t be doing anything at all soon enough.

    The joke about the sex-bots relates to the fact that much of the technological advances on the internet came about because of Adult Websites. The advances in video chat? That wasn’t pushed by little old grandmas wanting to show off kitten videos. Robots that are realistic, helpful and efficient are being developed by both ivory tower scientists and the adult industry. Who do you think will get an assembly line set up first? Then like much of the earlier tech that morphed from pron to daily use? That was my point.

    KGS thinks that they will help themselves by striking. Not really. It will end up like the Hawaii Teacher’s Strike, where Governor Cayatano just let them strike long enough to save up the money the teachers wanted for their pay raise. Then everyone was happy, until they did the math and realized they were still getting paid the same amount.

  • Sonagi
    7:25 pm on January 26th, 2013 10

    We want European style healthcare and social spending, but we don’t want to pay the taxes to support.

    If we had European-style health care, we wouldn’t need higher taxes since Europeans spend less per capita than we do.

  • Sonagi
    7:34 pm on January 26th, 2013 11

    School districts in Michigan must put millages before voters if they want additional tax money. Whenever my district wanted to get a mileage passed, they’d threaten to lay off the band director, cancel middle school sports, or some other cost-cutting measure that would be very unpopular. I suspect top DOD officials might try the same trick, threatening to cut useful programs or lay off low-ranking personnel who perform critical jobs to scare Congress and the public into sparing defense from the deficit-reduction ax.

  • Leon LaPorte
    8:18 pm on January 26th, 2013 12

    10. In places like Germany and the northern countries where they have that level of social spending, the taxes are 50, and 60%. Do you know anyone is going to go for that?

  • Denny
    9:46 pm on January 26th, 2013 13

    $4 trillion was spent on Iraq and Afghanistan. Everyone, including the DoD, has to take a cut to pay for it.

  • Sonagi
    11:22 pm on January 26th, 2013 14

    Leon, our per capita spending on health care is #1, hands down. It’s not just northern European countries; every single OECD country spend less, some half as much as we do. Countries with very high tax rates also have social benefits much more generous than ours, hence, much lower child poverty rates. Affordable access to a wide range of reproductive health care choices unhindered by religious zealots also helps reduce child poverty without costing much money.

  • Teadrinker
    12:34 am on January 27th, 2013 15

    #14,

    Yes, and Americans pay high taxes, too…a lot more than Leon seems to be aware of.

  • Leon LaPorte
    1:06 am on January 27th, 2013 16

    15. Just what tax rate do you think Americans currently pay?

    I’m just saying we want our cake and eat it too, but we cowardly leaders who won’t tell the truth and come up with politically expedient schemes.

    If we want it all, we have to pay. Right now, especially with the hole we’re in we need to cut AND pay more. It sucks, no one likes it, no one wants to admit it, and it’s true.

  • sesame seed
    2:53 am on January 27th, 2013 17

    I must disagree with the cut and pay scheme. We could just cut and we could be on the way to black immediately. Let’s cut the Departments of Education, Homeland Security, Transportation, the IRS, make social security means based, and let the states worry about unemployment and welfare. I bet we could save trillions that way and improve the economic environment so that entrepreneurs can do what they do best and create wealth. More wealth tends to lead to more jobs and thus more revenue for the government for whatever the government to pay down its debt.

    Europe has a lot of benefits, IMHO, because of America. We practically defend Europe and that lets them lower their defense spending…more money for social programs.

    You want to save money? Bring our troops home. Enough is enough for defending people who can defend themselves. Enough with us trying to figure out internal problems or interfering in them. We’ve funded and sold weapons to the Mujaheddin, Qaddafi, Egypt, Saddam, and Iran only to have them pointed at us. Let them sort out their own problems. That money and blood that we send overseas can be saved for, hopefully, better purposes at home.

  • John Smith
    4:32 am on January 27th, 2013 18

    You make good points Sesame Seed. Here is why it works the way it does.

    Cutting all those departments will make their beneficiaries and hanger-ons scream in a volume disproportionate to their number. Because our political system now runs on emotion-evoking catchphrases and feel-good but impractical promises rather than cold logic, “if we can save just one child” types of arguments will win out over “Let’s do it perfectly for the great majority of children.”

    Means-based social security will have the same issues as means-based welfare. Everyone will be looking for ways to cheat the system to get what they have coming. Just for enforcement, administrative costs will go up while efficiency goes down.

    If the states worry about unemployment and welfare, it will be a race to the bottom. They will cut entitlements in a competition to save costs and get rid of the non-producers who will gravitate to states that pay more. Only the most liberal states will welcome them and that will only last until the money runs out and their productive citizens start leaving. We are witnessing this in California.

    Entrepreneurs no longer create wealth. By encouraging government over-regulation and over-involvement, the large corporations have done everything possible to make starting a new business difficult and risky. With labor and healthcare laws, hiring workers is expensive and the paperwork requires a full-time employee. This is unaffordable to small business. A number of large corporations have gotten waivers for Obamacare but that won’t happen for the average entrepreneur trying to get off the ground.

    Bringing the troops home is a great idea but it cannot be done. America maintains its economy and debt spending by ensuring oil is traded in American dollars and the profits are invested back into American treasury bonds. The cycle can then repeat. Those who have tried to circumvent this system, Saddam in Iraq, Kadaffy in Lybia, Iran, have found themselves in trouble. Global American presence insures this threat is credible and counters the Russians and Chinese who would like to see this system end but do not have the same capability for global influence.

    Economically, there are only a few options right now. Kicking the can farther down the road has been popular. A global currency war is brewing which may try to inflate much of the debt away. War has been the traditional way of solving these problems, with the losers taking the brunt of the bad effects.

    Those are some of the things that came to mind when I read your sensible post. Unfortunately, the realities of a complex world negate most sensibilities.

  • Tom
    7:37 am on January 27th, 2013 19

    America left bankrupt and poor. :lol:

  • guitard
    9:06 am on January 27th, 2013 20

    Sonagi wrote:

    I suspect top DOD officials might try the same trick, threatening to cut useful programs or lay off low-ranking personnel who perform critical jobs to scare Congress and the public into sparing defense from the deficit-reduction ax.

    Since when did the average American citizen really give a rat’s ass about people in the military? Outside of people who have a family member or good friend in the military (which accounts for a very small segment of the population), the average American simply doesn’t care.

    But just for the sake of discussion, tell us what “useful (military) program” would the average American get up in arms about if the the DoD said it was going to cut it?

  • Sonagi
    9:14 am on January 27th, 2013 21

    Most Americans know personally at least one active or reserve military member. I have a sibling and three cousins in the reserves, and several colleagues and friends have spouses or children on active duty. An example of a useful military program would be health care for wounded vets.

  • guitard
    10:06 am on January 27th, 2013 22

    Less than a half percentage point of Americans serve on active duty. So less than 1 in 200. Your Reservist friends and relatives aren’t going to lose their civilian jobs because of DoD officials using scare tactics – so they aren’t part of the equation. And simply knowing so-and-so – whose wife’s brother is on active duty — is that really the kind of emotional attachment that gets people upset to point that they think the defense budget shouldn’t be cut? I don’t think so.

    The DoD has a reputation in the public’s eye of notoriously being wasteful. You know . . . the $200 hammers and $500 toilet seats. So I just can’t see an American with no or very little emotional attachment to someone in the military – which is a huge segment of the American population – worrying about someone in the military losing his or her livelihood.

    YMMV though.

  • Kingkitty
    11:05 am on January 27th, 2013 23

    Yea DoD overspending on toilets and hammers….oh yea and over paid civilians. Especially ones who work in staff positions and have no ideal how curfew violators are tracked

  • Sonagi
    11:36 am on January 27th, 2013 24

    Guitard, you’ve misunderstood my point in comment #11. I was not critizing proposed defense cuts. I am actually strongly in favor of reducing defense sending and have expressed that view many times on this blog. What I was criticizing was scaremongering by politician and opinion columnist friends of defense, who use the media to spin dire tales of severely weakened national security.

  • Sonagi
    11:59 am on January 27th, 2013 25

    Any budget large or small can be prioritized. As an educator, I could evaluate the budget of the federal Departmetn of Education and choose programs to cut with the lest impact on student learning. I could also choose highly beneficial programs and threaten that those programs would get less funding if the total budget were reduced.

  • MTB Rider
    3:06 pm on January 27th, 2013 26

    You do know that $500 toilet seat was actually a custom made fiberglass shroud, designed to fit into a P-3 Orion?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toilet_seat

    You also know that McDonalds had been told several times that the coffee they were serving was WAY to hot, and that the store initially offered $800 when her medical expenses were already up to $10,500 with more surgery to go?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebeck_v._McDonald%27s_Restaurants

    And of course, the infamous $200 (or $600) hammer? Actually, just $15 bucks…
    http://www.govexec.com/federal-news/1998/12/the-myth-of-the-600-hammer/5271/

    You guys do know you can open a second tab on top of your browser, then type in the “facts” you are about to espouse, and make sure of them before you post? It’s this really cool website called “Google.” Yeah…

  • Leon LaPorte
    4:29 pm on January 27th, 2013 27

    20. Of course Americans care about the military. Haven’t you seen all those yellow ribbon magnets of cars?

  • Setnaffa
    4:53 pm on January 27th, 2013 28

    Since when has more bureaucracy ever been the right answer?

    All it creates are folks like Eichmann… people who become very efficient at keeping the trains running on time and “be damned” to anything else like morality or human rights without a form in triplicate signed off by the appropriate Department Head…

    Government is not compassion, its compulsion. Period. Just look at the difference between the care in County or VA hospitals and those run by the Catholic Church you hate. It’s not about the money or technology…

    And you all spout the right words when you claim you don’t want a theocracy; but then you bow down in front of a “secular” state that in effect does everything the Church is supposed to do.

  • guitard
    5:18 pm on January 27th, 2013 29

    Guitard, you’ve misunderstood my point in comment #11. I was not criticizing proposed defense cuts. I am actually strongly in favor of reducing defense spending and have expressed that view many times on this blog. What I was criticizing was scaremongering by politician and opinion columnist friends of defense, who use the media to spin dire tales of severely weakened national security.

    The only point I’m trying to make is that scaremongering by politicians and opinion columnist friends of defense directed at the average American are largely going to be ineffective because in order to scare someone about something – the target of the scare has to give a sh!t. And in this day and age – the average American just doesn’t give a sh!t about national security.

    Any budget large or small can be prioritized. As an educator, I could evaluate the budget of the federal Department of Education and choose programs to cut with the least impact on student learning. I could also choose highly beneficial programs and threaten that those programs would get less funding if the total budget were reduced.

    And since tens of millions of Americans have a vested interest in the quality of education – scaremongering tactics about cuts in the education budget are much more likely to work.

    Which of these is likely to get a bigger reaction from the average American:

    1. If the defense budget is reduced, the $50 billion super tanker refueler aircraft program will be cut.

    2. If the education budget is reduced, school buses will be grounded.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    8:17 pm on January 27th, 2013 30

    To further add to what Guitard is already talking about, the military has already agreed to cut $500 billion over 10 years. If the politicians want the military to cut more than they should have said one trillion over 10 years instead. This allows the military to plan out over that time period its cuts. Much of the $500 billion cuts is coming from natural reductions in force size by people retiring, upping standards to re-enlist, as well as reducing the need for new recruits. The military knew in advance of the cut and planned around it to meet it.

    What is going on now is that the military is being forced to guess what type of money it will have because the politicians cannot make up their minds. Thus commanders right now do not know if they will have enough money this year to pay their workers. The other fear is that they will ultimately not have their budget cut this year and thus due to the cost saving measures they have already taken in anticipation of having their budget cut will lead to them having a bunch of money left over at the end of the fiscal year they need to spend and that leads to more waste.

    When dealing with military budgets commanders need predictability in regards to scheduled budgets in order to determine manpower and equipment needs. Military acquisitions happens over many years so if the military knows that their budget is being cut by an additional amount there is certain acquisition programs they will not start. Right now it is uncertain how much additional cuts will be thus planners do not know whether or not to begin or cut certain acquisition programs. Plus depending on what programs are kept or cut effects the global capabilities of the military so the military can effectively inform civilian policy makers of future capabilities of the military. For example cybersecurity is a huge concern and the way the sequester is an across the board budget cut the newly created CYBERCOMMAND would lose money affecting their capability to deal with future cyber threats.

    Additionally something else that frustrates budget planners is when they recommend certain programs be cancelled and the politicians force the military to buy more ships, airplanes, etc they do not need to keep jobs in their districts while the DA civilians are faced with threats of Furlough Friday.

    The bottom line is that if the politicians want to reduce the Pentagon budget even more, the Pentagon can much better execute it when their is time available to plan around it like what has been done with the first $500 billion cut. This allows commanders and policy makers to have time to make smart cuts that will minimize as much as possible the affects to America’s national security instead of the across the board cuts and fiscal uncertainty the Pentagon is facing now.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    8:22 pm on January 27th, 2013 31

    @17- We need the global military presence in order to keep the world as stable as possible because the American economy is powered by global trade. For example if we did not have bases in the Middle East the Iranians could shut the Straits of Hormuz and cause a global oil shortage whenever they wanted. The same could be done at other global choke points such as the Suez or Straits of Malacca. Our global military presence prevents bad actors from doing this and thus global trade continues to thrive.

    Also as far as cutting government departments and I sort of for it. In the military we have the BRAC to close down unneeded bases and merge units in order to find efficiencies to save money. There should be a government version of the BRAC to close unneeded government offices and merge agencies. For example why couldn’t the EPA fall under the Department of the Interior? This would create efficiencies to save money and likely cause closer coordination between these government organizations. The entire government should go through a BRAC like process like this just like the military has done multiple times in the past and will likely do again in the near future.

  • guitard
    12:23 am on January 28th, 2013 32

    MTB Rider wrote: You guys do know you can open a second tab on top of your browser, then type in the “facts” you are about to espouse, and make sure of them before you post? It’s this really cool website called “Google.” Yeah…

    Umm . . . I started off that paragraph with:

    The DoD has a reputation in the public’s eye of notoriously being wasteful.

    I guess that sentence is just a notch or two above your reading comprehension level, because you completely missed the part about it being a general statement about the public at large – and not necessarily my own personal belief.

    Thanks for the lesson on fact checking though. But just to be clear — this is a case that doesn’t require you to open a second browser . . . or do any fact checking . . . or go to this really cool website called “Google.” It only requires that you read and comprehend simple English. Yeah . . .

  • MTB Rider
    5:32 am on January 28th, 2013 33

    The question is “Is that Reputation Valid?” When you do a little fact checking (something so many people prefer to skip) it turns out the General Perception isn’t exactly accurate.

    Instead of letting “common knowledge” continue, I like to toss out the actual facts. Yeah… Reading Comprehension for the Win! :grin:

 

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