ACC leaders working to minimize effects of sequestration, potential civil service furlough
March 6, 2013
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala.--With sequestration under way Army Contracting Command senior leaders are working hard to ensure its workforce and its customers are informed about the command's way ahead.
Maj. Gen. Camille M. Nichols, ACC commanding general, and the senior staff are working daily to gather information from the field about how the sequester and a potential civil service furlough are affecting ACC, said Gene Duncan, chief, Operations Division, ACC Operations Group.
He said communication--across the command, up and down the chain of command and with ACC's customers--will be the key to success as ACC plans for the rest of fiscal year 2013. The communication is two-fold, he explained, with one part focused on the workforce and the second focused on the workload.
"We're monitoring the impacts on the workforce and trying to minimize the effects of a furlough on our people," he said, explaining the command is receiving daily reports from the field that are provided to Nichols. "We also have weekly meetings with the (principal assistants responsible for contracting). The information is passed through Army Materiel Command to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology).
ACC also sends a monthly report the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Procurement) addressing effects on the workload. Duncan said contracting officers are looking for ways to defer costs by reducing a contract's scope, not exercising options, or delaying contract awards.
Duncan said ACC's customers and the workforce need to realize that if furloughs happen, ACC won't be able to complete every requirement. If used, a furlough would reduce ACC's workforce by 20 percent.
"In the end we won't be able to get everything done like we have in the past," he said. "People want to get the mission done but simply can't do it with 20 percent less time. It's important for the contracting officers and customers to work together to prioritize the work."
Nichols has instructed leaders at all levels down to first-line supervisors to be engaged with the workforce. Duncan said commanders and center directors are required to report workforce engagement activities to the headquarters in the daily report. The most pressing issue facing the workforce is the potential for a furlough.
"We still don't know if there will be a furlough," Nichols said in her March Gold Eagle 6 note to the command. "The Secretary of the Army has said furlough is a tool of last resort. Our hope is that no one will be furloughed. It was difficult enough to release our temporary and term employees. But these measures, along with stopping the accrual of non-mission essential overtime and compensatory time, and evaluating travel and training at the headquarters level, are steps we must take as we face the fiscal uncertainty. We will continue to provide you with the latest information and guidance."
The latest budget uncertainty guidance is available on the ACC SharePoint home page at https://acc.aep.army.mil/BUG/Pages/BUG.aspx.