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Search Tags: House Armed Services Committee
The Pentagon says no decisions have been made, but eliminating 2013 furloughs is at the top of the funding priority list if it can find any excess funds.
DoD officials briefed House Armed Services members about 2013 furloughs and are figuring out whether they can reduce the number of days employees have to take without pay.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel put the ball in Congress' court this week when he released details of how the Pentagon would manage billions of dollars in cuts if sequestration continues into fiscal 2014 and beyond. But, there's not yet anything close to a winning strategy in Congress to avert or replace the automatic budget cuts.
House Armed Services and Veterans Affairs committees inserted a provision in the fiscal 2014 Defense Authorization Bill requiring DoD and VA to have an interoperable health record system by 2017. Agency officials say they already are and will continue to share health care data, but having one integrated, interoperable health care management system is no longer necessary.
Amid nearly unanimous congressional opposition, the Defense Department says it needs to stop operating military facilities it no longer wants or needs.
Currently deployed units and those behind them are fully trained and equipped, the services say. But those next in line "aren't doing much." The fiscal 2013 budget also may be too little, too late in some ship repair and maintenance efforts.
Defense agencies and services are pulling back hundreds of millions of dollars worth of grants and contracts. Impending furloughs will further impair DoD's ability to get money out the door.
DoD said it is tightening-up governance over its large business IT systems, looking for indicators of future failure and forcing resource sponsors to justify their needs before projects begin. Elizabeth McGrath, DoD's deputy chief management officer, told House lawmakers the Pentagon is working on data quality and changing business processes to avoid previous problems.
Robert Hale, the military's CFO, said reductions in force would cost more money than the Defense Department would save. But hiring a freeze and involuntary unpaid furloughs would be likely for civilians.