Looming Possibility of DOD Civilian Worker Layoffs in 2014
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WHNT) — There’s potential for a major impact on the United States Army and right here in the Tennessee Valley. Possible layoffs of civilian Department of Defense workers could become a reality in 2014. Keep in mind, these are potential possibilities if sequestration continues into 2014. The notion of layoffs all started with a simple request for guidance on defense budget cuts earlier this year.
In May, leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee wrote to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel asking for help with defense cuts. Hagel wrote back a letter to Michigan Senator Carl Levin and Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe saying, according to the Budget Control Act of 2011, 52 billion dollars in cuts will take place if sequestration continues into fiscal year 2014.
Hagel also noted these cuts would reduce “the size, readiness, and technological superiority” of the military. In short, the ongoing cuts could mean layoffs for Department of Defense civilian workers. An Army memo released on August 14th shows the United States Army General is looking to cut the Army’s budget by 25 percent. Army veteran and Madison Mayor Troy Trulock cautioned, you should take it with a grain of salt. “I would say the first thing to do is not get overly concerned about the 25 percent,” said Trulock. “Because until it becomes reality, and even after it becomes reality, its not always the final answer. “
Trulock said the potential budget cuts may sound scary, but it’s too soon to tell if it will happen. “In the military we run a lot of ‘what if’ drills or budget drills,” he said. “I know there has been that 25 percent number but to be perfectly honest, we`ve actually had 10, 15, 20 and now 25 percent those are all just drills, we hope none of that comes to fruition.”
The potential 25 percent budget cut for the United States Army has legislators and elected officials in North Alabama talking. While no firm decision has been made just yet, plans are already being put into action.
i just say we need to be careful and cautious that 25 percent is just a drill and until it becomes official, it`s not really official.” Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Trulock said running ‘budget drills’ is typical for the military.
“What does it mean to our community?” asked Trulock. “It probably means some folks will be having to tighten some belts, from a city perspective, from a county perspective, from individual companies; we`ll all need to tighten a little bit.”
If the layoffs happen, Trulock said he thinks North Alabama is prepared. “I think what`s very important for us is to make sure we continue to diversify,” he said. “In our Tennessee Valley, we have not only the DOD but NASA, and we have Cyber which is a great field we`re beginning to grow into, energy, bio tech with HudsonAlpha…”
As we go up and down in budgets, keeping jobs flowing into the Madison and Huntsville area is a top priority for city leaders, according to Mayor Trulock. “Folks may not necessarily be real happy they may lose this type of job in the defense world and do something different, but its still a job.”
Keep in mind, the budget for FY 2014 has not passed yet. The possibility of layoffs depends on the status of sequestration.