Oct. 16 Congress passed and the President signed legislation restoring funding for the federal government until January 15. This has been an incredibly challenging time for our Department, and I know everyone is anxious to get back to work.
I want to thank our Navy and Marine Corps civilians who faced not just professional uncertainty, but also personal uncertainty during these last three weeks. For those who were furloughed, we cannot operate without you as part of the team, and we felt your absence. I also want to thank our Navy and Marine Corps service members and civilians who reported to work each day, carried an even heavier load, and supported our furloughed civilians both in their jobs and in their well-being. There are countless examples of people pulling together to assist those in need. This is truly a Navy and Marine Corps Team.
It is important to note, however, that this is not “business as usual.” We are operating under a continuing resolution. This means we are limited to the funding levels of FY13. We are still following the restrictions laid out in the Budget Control Act, which required us to set in motion the automatic, government-wide cuts known as sequestration. And unless another budget agreement is reached, we could be in the same situation as we approach the January 15 deadline. Everything is not back to normal. There is still much work to be done and we need to continue to be judicious in our spending.
We need to take an even closer look at how we do business and ensure we are making the right choices with the limited fiscal resources we have available. All expenditures should continue to be scrutinized. Every requirement should continue to be prioritized. We have learned many lessons here in Washington the last few weeks, and today I met with senior leaders to discuss how to institutionalize some of those lessons to improve how we operate. I expect every command throughout the Fleet and Fleet Marine Force to take a hard look at their lessons learned and do the same. We pride ourselves in being good stewards of the American taxpayer’s dollar, but we need to ask ourselves if we can do even better.
We will continue to keep the safety and well-being of our people in the forefront of our minds as we work to support those forward deployed, those working here at home, and our families who, in turn, support us.