The Defense Department is facing the possibility of firing at least 6,272 employees if the automatic, across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration aren’t reversed, according to a planning document obtained by Bloomberg News.
Sequestration will reduce the department’s budget for fiscal year 2014 by $52 billion, which is “likely to produce further reductions,” according to the document. While this year the department relied on furloughs to deal with cuts, it seems next year it will rely on “reductions in force,” or firings, which affect about 1 percent of the civilian force.
The document is “Draft/Pre-Decisional.” A spokeswoman didn’t provide any comment to Bloomberg.
To deal with this year’s cuts, the DoD furloughed 85 percent of its civilian workers for about six days. Those set in for more than 650,000 workers in July, which amounted to a 20 percent reduction in pay through the end of September.
Pentagon workers aren’t the only ones whose jobs are at risk thanks to sequestration. Head Start programs have announced that 18,000 employees will experience lay offs or reduced pay next year. At the same time, more than 57,000 low-income preschoolers will lose their slots in the program. Sequestration has claimed other victims: low-income people who need housing assistance, domestic violence victims seeking support, the home-bound elderly who need Meals on Wheels, the long-term unemployed seeking benefits, and others.
Canceling sequestration now would bring back DoD positions, Head Start positions, and others: It could add as many as 1.6 million jobs to the economy.