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Sequestration is hurting national defense

The impact of sequestration is real and hurting our nation's military ("Pain of sequestration is real," July 22). Dedicated and patriotic U.S. Department of Defense civilian employees who serve alongside our uniformed counterparts are shouldering the burden with 11 weeks of unpaid furloughs — a 20 percent pay cut.

My workload isn't being decreased by 20 percent. Instead, I'm legally prohibited from doing the job that I was hired to do. Friday's work will be not done until Monday when I return. It's a matter of simple math that you can't do 40 hours of work in 32 hours.

Productivity will continue to suffer for the next 10 weeks, and possibly beyond that as the decreased productivity will have snowballed. Furloughs cannot become the new norm.

Lawmakers need to put their differences aside to work together to put defense department civilians back to work. Yes, we need to identify spending cuts, but we can't do it blindly. We need to make tough decisions, and those decisions need to include the Base Realignment and Closure process, the rising cost of military healthcare, as well as military retirement and tuition assistance for new service members.

Defense department civilians shouldn't be expected to pay the price of sequestration, and neither should service members who work with us and need the services we provide to them, their families and our veterans.

Jason Kelly, Hanover

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