Pentagon Official: BRAC, Job Cuts Coming to Defense Next Year


recent write-up in Government Executive detailed a Tuesday speech from Deputy Secretary Ashton Carter detailing a disturbing 2014 outlook for the Department of Defense (DoD). For Defense employees already facing 14 furlough days this year, the news comes at a very difficult time.

At the press conference, Carter suggested DoD would cut spending by opening a new round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), cutting the workforce by 5-6%, and adjusting military health care premiums and copays over the next five years. Due to sequestration and strict budget caps, DoD will see its budget squeezed tighter and tighter in the coming years, spelling disaster for many of the departments 800,000 employees. Though Carter was the messenger, he was adamant in expressing his disdain for the measure:

“Sequestration is not just bad in and of itself, it distracts from the true strategic and managerial tasks upon us,” said Carter. “We need the cloud of sequestration dispelled, not just moved to the horizon.”

We couldn’t agree more. Rather than grant agencies the flexibility they need to make smart spending cuts, sequestration forces government leaders to cut a piece of everything, regardless of strategic considerations. Federal employees across the country are already feeling the sting of furloughs, and many more soon will unless something changes in the next few months.

“We are at a critical point in the fight against furloughs,” said NFFE National President Dougan. “Tens of thousands of federal workers have already taken at least one furlough day, and hundreds of thousands more will be doing the same shortly if we don’t speak up. We’ve seen Congress act to stop furloughs before, and they need to do so again.”

President Dougan is referencing the situation at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which began its first employee furloughs three weeks ago. Just two weeks after furloughs began, the public outcry from angry airline passengers and federal employees drove them to end furloughs at the agency altogether. If we can take this lesson to heart, and make some serious noise about the impact of furloughs at our agency, we can bring an end to this mess once and for all.

“The surest bet you can make is that if we are silent on this, absolutely nothing will change,” said Dougan. “We need to inspire our co-workers, families, and neighbors to get the word out to their elected officials that we expect better from our government.”