February 6, 2013
MEMORANDUM FOR: All Employees
FROM: Rafael Borras
Under Secretary For Management
SUBJECT: PREPARATIONS FOR POTENTIAL SEQUESTRATION ON MARCH 1
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 delayed until March 1, 2013 the across-the-board spending cuts (also known as “sequestration”) that face all Federal agencies. The Administration remains focused on working with Congress to reach agreement on a balanced deficit reduction plan that avoids these cuts.
However, given that less than one month remains until these cuts would take effect and given that the two-month delay would give us less time in which to make the required cuts, Department leadership is engaged in extensive planning efforts to determine how we would deal with sequestration. I know many of you have questions, so I wanted to take this opportunity to provide some additional details.
In planning how to implement a possible sequestration, our guiding principle is to protect our ability to perform our critical missions.
To this end, we are carefully considering how to use the various tools to reduce costs in order to mitigate as much as possible the disruption to our operations, our programs, and all of you. We will use any and all flexibilities we have to protect our core operations and mission. We are closely examining contracts and other forms of expenditures across the Department to determine where we can reduce costs. We will also take steps, wherever possible, to cut operational or administrative costs in areas such as travel, facilities, and supplies.
We may also have to consider placing employees on temporary furlough, or taking other personnel actions, should sequestration occur. With respect to furloughs, all affected employees would be provided at least 30 days’ notice prior to executing a furlough. We will also continue meeting our obligations with employee representatives, to ensure that any furloughs are applied in a fair and appropriate manner. If you have questions on this issue, I would encourage you to go to the Office of Personnel Management website, which has helpful information and answers to frequently asked questions regarding furloughs (found at www.opm.gov/furlough, under the “administrative furlough” section). If you have specific DHS questions, you may email them to email@example.com.
We will continue to provide information regarding our plans for implementation of sequestration, and how these plans will affect the day-to-day operations of our department.
Thank you for your patience as we navigate these difficult issues, and for all that you do for DHS and the American people.