I don’t comment too much about current events, but during the last week I found some of SECDEF’s comments about Sequestration (the ‘Budget Control Act’) to be rather encouraging.

Encouraging, you say, GubMints?  I read nothing but doom and gloom.

Some see a lot of sourness in the announcement that Furloughs are here to stay for FY13, and that Furloughs and Reductions in Force (RIFs) are a part of DoD’s future, but I find it refreshing that someone at the top (SECDEF) is willing to face reality and start looking at areas to cut.   

I’ve mentioned this here before, but telling Combatant Commanders to prepare two separate budgets (One for the Reality of Sequestration, and One for the Fantasy of receiving a ‘Bailout’) rather than facing the financial music is irresponsible and wastes a lot of time (read: Money, since Time is Money).  It is also irresponsible to make a deliberate effort to run your service out of ‘Gas Money’ half way through the fiscal year.   SECDEF’s comment that Combatant Commander staffs need to be cut is not a bad idea- each Flag/General job comes with 4-7 O-6 billets to round out the typical Admiral/General Entourage Staff.  Do we really need this many admirals for only 286 ships?

While SECDEF’s leadership is encouraging, I still find it discouraging that Congress refuses to entertain the though of another set of base closures (BRAC). 

There’s no doubt the DoD has some excess Brick and Mortar that it no longer needs. 

For Example, the Submarine Force has EIGHT submarine bases – 3 in the Atlantic, 5 in the Pacific (counting Bangor and Bremerton as separate facilities) for 53 attack boats and 18 SSBN/SSGN boats.  Our Submarine end strength is less than 2/3 of what the nation had following the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Considering that each Submarine Base has to have its own Local Maintenance Activity, Commissary, Schoolhouse, and government-subsidized housing, can the nation afford to have EIGHT of these for ~68 submarines?  I’m sure there are plenty of other examples of extra Bricks and Mortar throughout the Navy and the other Armed Services.

…But back to YOU, the FedWhat should you do to prepare for the possiblity of more furloughs in FY14 and the likelihood of Agency-Wide RIFs through 2019?

  1. Check your RIF Service Computation Date (SCD RIF- One of your THREE Service Computation Dates) and understand what your eligiblity is for a VERA (Voluntary Early Retirement) or RIF, if it is offered by your agency.
  2. Understand that an Agency-wide announcement of RIF or VERA does not necessarily mean you will be offered an ‘early-out’- Your Agency (as provided information via your supervisors) is the final signature authority in offereing each and every individual a RIF/VERA.
  3. Continue looking for ways to trim your personal budget- A comprehensive list is here.
  4. The job market is improving.   If you receive a job offer in the private sector, understand the retirement implications of resigning from federal service.


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