The Pentagon has recalled 90 percent of the 350,000 civilians furloughed last week, including acquisition, contracts and logistics personnel.
But, as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made clear in his recall memo, due to the fact that the Pentagon doesn’t currently have an appropriations bill, those folks don’t have any money to buy stuff.
The Pentagon brought back most of the furloughed civilians based on an interpretation of the quickly written Pay Our Military Act, signed by President Obama on Sept. 30. The law says furloughs don’t apply to civilian employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members.
Hagel said that law provided appropriations for personnel only and did not include funds for “equipment, supplies, materiel and all the other things the department needs to keep operating efficiently.”
“If the lapse of appropriations of continues, many of these workers will cease to be able to do their jobs,” he warned. “If there comes a time that workers are unable to do their work, I will be forced to once again send them home.”
We have truly entered an alternative universe.