February 27, 2013
MEMORANDUM FOR: All Employees
FROM: Chris Cummiskey
Deputy Under Secretary For Management
SUBJECT: SEQUESTRATION UPDATE
In messages sent earlier by Department of Homeland Security leadership, we notified all DHS employees that the Federal government is facing the possibility of sequestration, which will significantly impact Federal agency functions and operations, including the Departmental Management Offices (or Offices of the Secretary and Executive Management and the Management Directorate). I want to explain the situation and what could occur in the coming weeks as fiscal uncertainty continues.
In August 2011, Congress passed the Budget Control Act (Public Law 112-25) to limit federal spending and reduce our national debt. To enforce annual spending limits, that law requires across-the-board funding reductions to almost every federal program, project, and activity through a process called “sequestration.” The Administration believes Congress should take action to avoid sequestration. However, unless Congress and the Administration can reach agreement on specific measures to reduce the national debt, the President will be required to issue a sequester order on March 1, 2013. As a consequence, all federal agencies, including Departmental Management Offices, will have to implement steep funding cuts for the remainder of the fiscal year.
The Department of Homeland Security has undertaken a thorough and responsible planning process, in the event an agreement is not reached. In planning for potential budget reductions, our guiding principle is to protect our ability to perform our critical missions. We are considering various cost-reduction steps to mitigate, as much as possible, the disruption to our employees and our ability to maintain operations and programs.
However, sequestration’s financial impact will be significant. To achieve substantial budget reductions between March 1 and September 30, 2013, we must consider actions in a number of areas, including the following:
• Reduced hiring and hiring freezes
• Reduction or elimination of overtime and compensatory time
• Reduction of travel and training costs, including conferences
• Reduction or elimination of non-reimbursable agreements
• Reduction or elimination of time-limited appointments
• Reduction in fleet and mail services
• Other reductions determined by each office.
If furloughs are planned for your Component your leadership will provide you with separate and more specific notification, which will be followed by individual employee notifications provided by the HQ Human Resources Management & Services (HRMS) 30 days prior to the effective date of the furlough.
In closing, I want each of you to know that any reduction in funding is by no means a measure of the value of your work and service. You and your colleagues are vital to the safety and security of our Nation. Thank you for your service to the American people.