About 7,000 Veterans Benefits Administration workers were furloughed Oct. 8, leaving VBA regional offices closed, VA Spokeswoman Victoria Dillon said. While regional offices won't be open, most toll-free numbers will still be available to veterans seeking information about their benefits.
The United States carried out two raids against Islamist militants this past weekend, in Libya and Somalia. No U.S. personnel were hurt during either operation, Pentagon spokesman George Little said Oct. 6. Little took to Twitter Oct. 7 to dispute reports that the Somalia operation was unsuccessful. "We knocked on al-Shabaab's front door. They shouldn't sleep easy," he said.
Tor, the anonymity-protecting Internet routing technology favored by users ranging from political dissidents to terrorists and pedophiles has been the subject of concerted attempts by the National Security Agency to break its protections. "With manual analysis we can de-anonymize a very small fraction of Tor users, however, no success de-anonymizing a user in response to a TOPI request/on demand," a leaked NSA presentation states.
The Defense Department will recall most of its civilian workforce that was furloughed due to the government shutdown, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in an Oct. 5 statement. Hagel gained authority through a recent law that allows him to pay civilian personnel who provide support to the Armed Forces, he said.
Sequestration has forced the Army to defer refurbishment of 800 vehicles, 2,000 weapons, 32 helicopters and 10,000 pieces of communication gear returned from combat zones in 2013, or $1.7 billion of the planned $4 billion equipment reset, the Army's deputy chief of staff for logistics told Congress last week.
The Defense Department doesn't yet know how a law President Obama signed Monday to pay military and civilain workers during the shutdown will affect civilian DoD workers who were furloughed. The law (H.R. 3210) gives Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel the authority to provide pay to the civilian personnel who Hagel determines are providing support to members of the Armed Forces. The law does not set a dollar amount
It's clear under federal law that only employees with essential functions necessary to keep federal benefit programs running or for the protection of national security, life and property, and functions funded by money with another source than one year appropriations bills are permitted to continue working. What's less clear is how agency contingency plans are to address employees' use of mobile devices while they're unable to work.
About half of the Defense Department civilian workforce will be furloughed if lawmakers can't agree on a measure to fund government operations in the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, a Sept. 27 DoD statement says.
The Defense Department could save almost $50 billion in fiscal 2015 if it cuts excess personnel reduces active forces, a Sept. 23 Stimpson Center report says. If the sequester continues, DoD would need to cut its spending by $47.7 billion by fiscal 2015, the report says.
Just a week before a possible government shutdown, the Defense Department warned its civilian employees that furloughs could be in their future for those who aren't exempt and they might not get paid for the forced time off. Employees who aren't excepted or exempt will be barred from working during the shutdown, except to perform minimal activities that would be necessary to suspend agency operations, a Sept. 23 DoD memo (.pdf) says.