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Pentagon Begins Furloughs of Civilian Workers; Chuck Hagel Comments

PentagonThe first of 11 furlough days for up to 652,000 civilian workers across the Defense Department began Monday despite lobbying by a coalition of labor organizations representing federal employees, Fedscoop reported Friday.

Cory Bennett writes the Federal Workers Alliance sent letters to almost 300 lawmakers and argued that the Pentagon could prevent furloughs by shifting agency budgets.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said during a June 28 town-hall meeting that the DoD has utilized all measures to avoid imposing the furloughs.

“In the end, I had really no choice but to make some tough decisions on furloughing, because I could not cut anymore into — into readiness,” he said.

The Pentagon issued a memo June 28 directing managers not to borrow military workforce or pass work on to contractors to replace civilians while they are furloughed.

“The fact that there is money in both the operation and maintenance account … to fund salaries the remainder of FY13 makes [the furlough days] even harder to swallow,” said Matthew Biggs, spokesperson for Federal Workers Alliance.

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