Nearly one million people will see one-fifth of their paychecks cut for five months, if the sequester is allowed. The Department of Defense announced Wednesday that they will be forced to furlough 800,000 employees for one day a week for just over five months, in addition to halting training operations.
“That’s 22 days of unpaid leave for 800,000 civilians,” Ashton B. Carter said on Thursday's Morning Joe.
Military salaries are exempt from the cuts, which means that civilians are facing the brunt of the cuts. Civilian employees aren’t just people who work in offices at the Pentagon, Carter noted. “Our civilians are people who repair ships, who repair jet engines, who overhaul engines, they work at the bases.”
Though exempt from the furloughs because he’s a political appointee, Carter told the Pentagon that he would voluntarily dock a fifth of his salary in solidarity.
Training will also be slashed, as it’s an easy way to net cash to complete the $46 billion the Pentagon would need to cut by the end of the year.
“The effect is going to be a crisis in readiness later in the year, the reason that happens is we have to go wherever we can get money quickly, one of the ways you can get money quickly is training, and one of the places you can get money quickly is training,” Carter said. “We’ll have to stop training for army units, air force units, stop ships from sailing; this is obviously deleterious to our national security.”
State economies dependent on defense jobs, such as Virginia, California, Maryland, and Texas, will likely feel the burden the most, according to the department.
“The world is watching and waiting for us to get out of our own way,” Carter added.