March 12, 2013
Pentagon officials have emphasized that military pay and benefits, including retired military pay, BAH and other allowances, will continue even when sequestration takes place. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that servicemembers are not subject to the unpaid furloughs that could affect that majority of the Defense Department’s civilian work force as a result of sequestration. According to Defense Secretary Panetta in a recently released memo “the president has used his legal authority to exempt military personnel funding from sequestration, but we have no legal authority to exempt civilian personnel funding from reductions.
While this is good news for servicemembers, the Defense Department’s civilian work force still faces potential furloughs. Defense Secretary Panetta has notified Congress that the DoD is prepared to implement furloughs for civilian personnel in response to the threat of sequestration. Pentagon officials said furloughs for the Defense Department’s civilian work force could begin in late April if a budget deal isn’t reached. Those furloughs would cut 20% of their pay and would impact approximately 750,000 employees. At least 30 days notice will be provided to all affected employees prior to executing any furloughs.
All U.S Armed Forces branches have announced that Tuition Assistance will be suspended. Those currently enrolled in classes will not be impacted but new applications are not being accepted.
Additionally non-exempt programs such as tuition assistance, TRICARE and family support programs could see cuts as a result of the sequester. Panetta has vowed to continue working with Congress to avoid sequestration, which would add $470 billion to the $487 billion in defense spending cuts the department already is making over the next 10 years. A