The ongoing continuing resolution that is funding the federal government at the 2010 level is primarily affecting DoD hiring and construction projects for the Defense Department.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned if he doesn’t receive the $549 billion requested for 2011 it would be a “crisis” that would force him to dip into operations and maintenance accounts, as well as stretch programs and make cuts in training and readiness. Fifty military construction projects have already been delayed due to the five month-old continuing resolution said Defense Department Comptroller Robert Hale recently.
The deputy assistant secretary of Defense for civilian personnel policy, Pat Tamburrino, said his department is struggling to understand what a yearlong continuing resolution would mean, if one occurs. But he foresees helping shift existing Defense employees to different agencies to fill gaps in skills if there isn’t enough money to hire new employees.
“It’s a fiscally constrained environment,” Tamburrino said. “We’re going to look at what our responsibility is, what are the requirements, and what knowledge, skills and abilities are in the work force now. I help people identify their gaps and move people around” to fill them.
The Marine Corps implemented a 90-day hiring freeze in December and is assessing civilian labor and contractors across the division due to budget cuts. While the Marine Corps is the only Defense department operating under a hiring freeze, other defense departments or services within Defense may decide on future hiring freezes if necessary, Tamburrino said. The continuing resolution has also prompted hiring freezes at the Social Security Administration and Justice Department, where the possibility of furloughs is imminent.