In a statement, American Federation of Government Employees president J. David Cox called the news unbelievable and offensive.
“(Defense) Secretary (Chuck) Hagel seems to believe that we should be happy with the crumbs he has thrown our way. Meanwhile, he’s invited contractors back to the table to resume their feast,” he said late last week.
Pentagon officials had threatened to furlough about 700,000 defense civilian employees for at least 22 days this summer, in order to meet $46 billion in military budget cuts mandated by Congress under sequestration.
Those cuts went into effect March 1, but Congress passed a new appropriations bill reducing the defense cuts to about $41 billion and giving military planners more flexibility in implementing them.
That allowed officials to reduce the total furlough days to 14, but also allowed money to be shifted around to award the new contracts.
AFGE officials have maintained for months that furloughs will hurt employee morale and would not be necessary if Pentagon planners reined in wasteful defense contracts.