By ANDREA WALES
U.S. Army Human Resources Command PAO
The Army’s deputy chief of staff for personnel (G-1) held several town-hall meetings at the Lt. Gen. Timothy J. Maude Complex March 11 to discuss sequestration with the work force of the U.S. Army Human Resources Command.
In light of the Budget Control Act of 2011 that triggered sequestration, the Army faces a de-facto $18 billion deficit, which will affect noncombat operations and maintenance, Lt. Gen. Howard Bromberg said.
“It’s very important to understand the environment,” he said. “It’s a very dynamic time, and it’s not going to get any less dynamic through the course of the year.”
Bromberg cautioned the people of HRC that they had to keep three things in mind:
1. “We’re still in the fight,” he said. “We support those activities that support those Soldiers.”
2. The main problem of budget isn’t going to change in the near future, he said. The Army is already on the glide path to draw down to 490,000 by fiscal year 2017, he said. However, it’s possible that this drawdown may be accelerated due to these budget constraints.
3. Prepare for the long-term effects of sequestration, Bromberg said. Military pay is exempt, but civilian pay isn’t exempt and will be affected through the furlough that is set to begin on or about April 23 unless Congress and the current administration are able to come to some other agreement. Civilians may be on furlough (at a rate of one unpaid furlough day per week) for as many as 22 days
by the time the fiscal year runs its course.
“You have to plan for it now,” he said.
Adjusting the Family budget is only part of it. Budgeting your time at work will be crucial, too
“Do that work planning now. You have to manage that time,” Bromberg said. “We’re not going to call you on furlough days. That, to me, is morally wrong.”
Bromberg explained the situation in terms of a personal budget, saying he was giving a lesson in ECON 101. If you get $1 a month and you are told at the beginning of the year that you will be getting $1 less than your usual $12 yearly income, you will miss out on one-twelfth but can easily make adjustments in your spending habits so you only spend $11 that year. If, however, you are told in June that you will be getting $1 less than your usual amount for the last sixth months of the year, you are missing out on one-sixth of the pay normally due in that period. “Tightening your belt” is much more severe when the first six months’ money has already been spent.
The Army has already canceled training at conferences and at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif., for example, Bromberg said. Applications for tuition assistance aren’t be accepted anymore either.
He praised the members of the HRC work force for their great reputation for customer service and exhorted them to guard that reputation during furlough.
“We will hold you to the same quality standard, but not to the same time standard,” said Bromberg, commenting on the effect of fewer days on the job due to furlough. “How you come out of this is a testament to your professionalism.”