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Posts made in: 'Policy/Politics' (9) Currently Viewing: 1 - 9 of 9

October 7, 2013 at 2:14pm

Washington National Guard: Furloughed technicians recalled to duty

Around 700 full-time federal technicians with the Washington State National Guard have been recalled to work Tuesday, Oct. 8 after being furloughed Oct. 1 during the federal government shutdown, according to a release by Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, the state's adjutant general.

The change was the result of Saturday's announcement by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that the Pay Our Military Act allowed the Department of Defense to eliminate furloughs for certain employees whose responsibilities contribute to the "morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members."

Almost all furloughed full-time federal technicians in Washington state are being recalled though several furloughed technicians within the U.S. Property & Fiscal Office are ineligible for recall. Also, state employees who have been furloughed by the state are not recalled at this time.

October 5, 2013 at 1:41pm

Hagel announces recall of most DoD civilians

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5, 2013 - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced today he is recalling most of the Defense Department civilians who were placed on furlough as a result of the government shutdown which began Oct. 1.

"Today, I am announcing that most DOD civilians placed on emergency furlough during the government shutdown will be asked to return to work beginning next week," he said.

"Immediately after President [Barack] Obama signed the Pay Our Military Act into law, I directed DOD's acting general counsel to determine whether we could reduce the number of civilian personnel furloughed due to the shutdown," Hagel said.

The Defense Department, he said, consulted closely with the Department of Justice, which expressed its view that the law does not permit a blanket recall of all civilians.

"However, DOD and DOJ attorneys concluded that the law does allow the Department of Defense to eliminate furloughs for employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members," Hagel said.

"Consequently, I am now directing the military departments and other DOD components to move expeditiously to identify all employees whose activities fall under these categories," he said.

Hagel noted he expects the military departments to be able to "significantly reduce - but not eliminate - civilian furloughs under this process."

"Employees can expect to hear more information from their managers starting this weekend," he added.

The defense secretary said the department has tried to "exempt as many DOD civilian personnel as possible" from furloughs, and will continue to try to bring all civilian employees back to work as soon as possible.

"Ultimately, the surest way to end these damaging and irresponsible furloughs, and to enable us to fulfill our mission as a department, is for Congress to pass a budget and restore funds for the entire federal government," Hagel said.

"This has been a very disruptive year for our people - including active duty, National Guard and reserve personnel, and DOD civilians and contractors," he said. "Many important activities remain curtailed while the shutdown goes on."

Civilians under furlough, Hagel said, face the uncertainty of not knowing when they will receive their next paycheck.

"I strongly support efforts in Congress to enact legislation to retroactively compensate all furloughed employees," he said.

"And I will continue to urge Congress to fulfill its basic responsibilities to pass a budget and restore full funding for the Department of Defense and the rest of the government," Hagel said.

Written by Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr., a journalist with the American Forces Press Service.

Filed under: Defense News, Policy/Politics,

October 1, 2013 at 7:16am

U.S. military commissaries, exchanges close during government shutdown

Despite a government shutdown, military commissaries overseas and all Army and Air Force Exchange Service facilities will continue operation. Stateside, however, military commissaries will close.

Despite a government shutdown, military commissaries overseas and all Army and Air Force Exchange Service facilities will continue operation.

Military commissaries in the United States, however, will not be open during the government shutdown, said the director of the Defense Commissary Agency.

During the government shutdown, 38 commissaries in Europe, one store in Puerto Rico, and 29 stores in the Pacific, including Guam, will remain open. Keeping the facilities open is a safety and security measure to serve U.S. troops and their families stationed overseas.

Read Army News Service's full report on how the exchanges are affected during the government shutdown on the U.S. Army website.

LINK: Information for soldiers, civilians impacted by government shutdown

Filed under: Exchanges, Policy/Politics,

October 1, 2013 at 7:07am

Obama thanks DoD workforce, encourages budget resolution

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 2013 - President Barack Obama thanked the Defense Department workforce today in a video message and expressed his disappointment in Congress' failure to approve a budget, resulting in a government shutdown.

"As president, and as your commander-in-chief, I've worked to make sure you have the strategy, the resources and the support you need to complete the missions our nation asks of you," he said.

"And every time you've met your responsibilities and performed with extraordinary professionalism, skill and courage," Obama said.

Unfortunately, the president said, Congress has not fulfilled its responsibility and failed to pass a budget.

"As a result, much of our government must now shut down until Congress funds it again," Obama said.

Read Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.'s full story on what this all means on the U.S. Department of Defence website.

LINK: Information for soldiers, civilians impacted by government shutdown

Filed under: Policy/Politics, Defense News,

September 30, 2013 at 10:00pm

Video: Pres. Obama says military will remain on duty

Pres. Barack Obama sent a message via video to American military and Defense Department personnel stationed around the world at midnight on Tuesday (EST), assuring them they will remain on duty after Congress missed a midnight deadline to avert a partial government shutdown. Obama signed a bill Monday that protects military pay while the government is shut down.

LINK: Information for soldiers, civilians impacted by government shutdown

Filed under: Policy/Politics,

July 8, 2013 at 12:17pm

Rep. Derek Kilmer doesn't like furloughs either

Today we learned the Air Force brass does not like furloughs. We also learned Rep. Denny Heck wants to coach you through them over the phone. And a few minutes ago we learned Rep. Derek Kilmer is ticked off over furloughs too.

Kilmer released the following statement aimed at the thousands of civilian employees of the Department of Defense across the region, including workers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"Every day that Congress doesn't work on a balanced, long-term budget plan to stop the across-the-board cuts is another day that folks around the country - like the thousands of folks in our region who begin unpaid furloughs this week - have to cover for Congress' dysfunction.  These men and women and their communities shouldn't have to pay because Congress won't work together.  I'll continue to work with both parties to pass a budget and end the reckless policy of sequestration once and for all."

From day one, Representative Kilmer has called on Congress to stop the across-the-board cuts and replace them with a balanced, long-term solution to our economic problems including speaking twice about this issue on the floor of the House of Representatives.

July 8, 2013 at 11:52am

Rep. Heck and Col. Hodges to talk JBLM furloughs over phone

As you know by our earlier blog post, and the fact that you can't get into the commissary today, JBLM civil service furloughs and other sequestration awfulness have hit Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Need to release some furlough fumes?

At 7 p.m., Tuesday, July 9 Congressman Denny Heck will host a telephone town hall on JBLM furloughs and sequestration. He will be joined by JBLM commander Col. H. Charles Hodges, Jr.

Civilian workers, servicemembers, and other interested members of the public are invited to call-in and ask questions about the upcoming civilian furloughs at Joint Base Lewis-McChord or about other ways the federal sequestration budget cuts are affecting JBLM. This call aims to be a "one stop shop" for anyone with questions regarding how these furloughs and sequestration will impact JBLM and its civil service workforce. Congressman Heck will answer questions about why the furloughs and federal sequestration budgets cuts are taking place. Colonel Hodges will answer questions about how JBLM is being impacted.

To raise Heck tomorrow at 7 p.m., call 855.246.7045, ext. 21849. The call will be toll-free.

June 26, 2013 at 7:44am

Morning Report: Supreme Court decision, Army cuts, Real tough guys don't need guns and more ...

Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno announced, June 25, 2013, that 10 brigade combat teams based in the United States are slated to be reorganized by the end of fiscal year 2017. Photo credit: C. Todd Lopez

TODAY IN HIGHLY ANTICIPATED RULINGS: The Supreme Court ruled the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

ARMY CUTS: Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, said that the Army would institute the largest organizational change since World War II by eliminating combat forces from 10 bases across the United States, part of a planned reduction of 80,000 active-duty troops over the next five years.

4-2 SBCT DEACTIVATION: The Army announced plans to trim the ranks of active-duty soldiers at Lewis-McChord by 4,500 troops over the next few years, mostly by eliminating one of its three marquee Stryker brigades

NAVY RULES: A Navy admiral has been selected by Pres. Obama to take over U.S. Strategic Command, which is tasked with overseeing the nation's nuclear arsenal.

INTELLIGENCE: How Edward Snowden snuck through.

SEQUESTRATION: It's a way of producing near-term budget savings at the longer-term expense of the health and affordability of military strength, which seems to be the epitome of a classic idiom of acting "penny wise and pound foolish."

TODAY IN ANCIENT LIZARDS: Scientists found ancient lizards in an African desert ... the size of cows.

NOOK NEWS: No more color.

NEED A NEW TV SHOW TO WATCH?: Consult the suggestion engine.

THUMBS AND AMMO: Real tough guys don't need guns, they just need a positive, can-do attitude.

Parents please!

June 24, 2013 at 2:57pm

State attorneys general against predatory lenders to military

Thirteen state attorneys general have something to say to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel concerning storefront predatory lenders and their evil triple digit annual percentage rates. Below is a letter co-signed by 13 state attorneys general - including Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson - to Hagel warning against predatory lenders who evade the interest rate cap on loans to military servicemembers. The letter calls for strengthening consumer protections under the Military Lending Act.

Read more...

Filed under: Policy/Politics, Business,

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