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3-star: Furloughs could slow schoolhouses, keep billets empty

Apr. 9, 2013 - 12:37PM   |  
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The Navy may see a schoolhouse slowdown over the next few months as civilian instructors are sent home without pay, the Navy’s three-star personnel chief said Tuesday, potentially reducing class sizes and keeping trained sailors from where they’re needed most: the fleet.

Vice Adm. Scott Van Buskirk, chief of naval personnel, said detailers had filled an estimated 3,000 open billets across the fleet since incentives and changes to the sea-shore rotation were implemented last fall. But his goal remains getting 7,000 more gapped billets filled — a goal potentially complicated by the impending civilian furloughs, which are likely to reduce the Navy’s schoolhouse throughput, as the number of sailors trained in each course is known.

“We’re going to have to adjust our schedules, that’ll be the greatest impact,” Van Buskirk said of effects of the possible furloughs, which would come as the Navy contends with a $4 billion shortfall in operations and maintenance money through September.

“I don’t see us changing graduation dates at the Naval Academy or any of the major institutions, but what you could see is maybe some of our mobile training teams that we have — that go out to the fleets and go out and conduct business — we may have to see how they do those as well,” Van Buskirk continued, in a question-and-answer session at the Navy League’s Sea-Air Space symposium outside Washington, D.C.

“We may not be able to do as much of that as we’d like to,” he continued. “Where we’ll see it the most is got to be with throughput.

“We don’t know what the exact impact will be, depending on how long the furlough goes.”

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