New guidelines from the Secretary of Defense will cut furlough days in half, from 22 to 11, at two Central Pennsylvania army facilities. Furlough days will run from July 8th and end on September 30th.
The goal is to reduce the Department of Defense budget by $500 billion.
The loss in pay will be substantial and service cuts will be noticeable. But the lasting impact on the economy to Central PA may take years to determine.
Major General Tony Cucolo outlined the details of the upcoming round of furloughs at a townhall meeting at the Carlisle Barracks. With a few holiday exceptions, furlough days will be Mondays at the Army War College. At Letterkenny Army Depot, Fridays will be their furlough days. The scattered days will help ease the impact to the military and their families by providing at least some services in the area Monday through Friday.
The furloughs hurt an estimated 660 civilian employees who work at the college and barracks. Cucuolo says his employees lose essentially 20% of their pay over an 11-week period.
Cucolo says, “There’s empathy and compassion for what my employees are about to go through and that motivates us to turn a maximum effort on caring for them to get through this period.”
Cucolo says he knows what his staff is doing to adjust outyear budgets so furloughs don’t happen again. Cucolo says the change will cause an economic impact in Central PA.
“When the commissary is closed it may seem like a small thing to others, but to a large number of families and vets, that’s an impact,” says Cucolo.
Under the change, there will be no access to medical and dental services. Cucolo says the mandated cuts are frustrating because he believes they could have been avoided in the federal sequestration.