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Department of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel expects more cuts for FY '14

3:55 PM, Jul 16, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Department of Defense employees at Naval Air Station Jacksonville will take their second of eleven furlough days this Friday.

This round of military furloughs likely won't be the last. 

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel toured NAS Jax on Tuesday. While he was there, he blasted sequestration, saying it's irresponsible.

"Only being able to put in your 32 hours when the mission still calls for more, that's been the biggest impact to the employees," says Dora Quinlan, Fleet Readiness Center SE Business Office Director.

Quinlan is not the only person with concerns about furloughs.

Secretary Hagel has been getting many questions on his tours of naval bases on the East Coast. Tuesday's stop at NAS Jax was no different, and he didn't hide how he feels about this year's budget cuts.

"It's just a dumb way to do it," Hagel said. "Sequestration is an irresponsible default of policy making," 

About 2,700 employees at the Fleet Readiness Center have been furloughed taking one day off a week.

Defense Secretary Hagel met with workers on the production line of the FA-18 and the P-3 Orions. He also spoke to more than 100 defense employees at a town hall meeting about more furloughs in 2014. Next year's cuts could total $52 billion.

"It's abrupt, it's steep, it's deep, it's immediate, and it's going to hurt our investment accounts, our technological edges here that we have, we're going to have to do away with some of that, because we don't have the money," says Secretary Hagel.

Employees like Gregory Daniels and Bill Spencer are worried that even more cuts could mean more work that doesn't get completed.

"What bothers us the most is not knowing what might not get done next year and the impacts that's going to make on readiness," says Daniels. 

"We took an oath to provide a full measure of support to the young men and women who serve and what would a parent, or wife, or child think if they knew that on that day because of Congress that we were not able to provide that support to see those people home safely."

"We're really hoping that FY '14 will not be as difficult as what we're facing now," says Quinlan.

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