Because of the absence of available appropriations, Fort Bragg furloughed about 38 percent, or 2,500 persons, of its garrison work force at noon, Monday. Overall, about 50 percent of the more than 14,500 Department of Defense civilian employees on Fort Bragg are furloughed until further notice, said Col. Jeffery Sanborn, Fort Bragg Garrison commander.
The furloughs are a result of the budget crisis in Washington, D.C. The government’s annual budget expired at midnight Eastern Daylight Time, Monday.
“There is no way around this, everyone will be effected by this furlough,” Sanborn said. “We will do everything we can to ensure our units, Soldiers, their Families, our civilian workforce and retirees are supported to the best of our abilities.”
In spite of the furloughs, the military will be paid.
The Pay Our Military Act guarantees the military and excepted civilians will be paid on time and in full. Excepted activities are those required for national security, including the safety of human life or the protection of property or the orderly suspension of operations that extend beyond the shutdown of an individual employee’s workplace, said Tom McCollum, Fort Bragg Garrison public affairs officer.
“One of the missions of the Fort Bragg garrison is to ensure the safety, not only of our personnel, but of the equipment is maintained and because of that, our Department of Emergency Services will operate on a regular basis,” he said.
Emergency medical, law enforcement agencies and our firefighters will continue to work on a daily basis,” explained McCollum.
Other services that remain open at Fort Bragg include Department of Defense schools and child development centers.
Training, deployment and redeployment activities also continue.
Some of the garrison services that will not be performed include training at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum; infrastructure support such as erosion control and street sweeping; Survivor Outreach Services and Army Community Service Satellite offices; as well as Equal Employment services such as complaints processing and climate assessments.
The civilian workforce is always in support of the military. The furlough is a strike to morale, explained McCollum. In the meantime, Fort Bragg will use “borrowed military power” on an as-needed basis, careful not to take a Soldier away from the job that he or she signed up for.
“No matter what, Fort Bragg’s mission of deploying our contingency operations worldwide will continue and will be met,” McCollum said. “We will deploy, we will redeploy, we will equip and we will train our Soldiers...”
Once the budget crisis is settled, civilians can return to work the next day, in full and on time, added McCollum.