News Extras

Memo Tells DOD Components to Plan for Budget Uncertainties

By Jim Garamone

Department of DefenseSource:  American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON – Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter has released a memo directing the services and defense agencies to begin planning for possible upcoming budget challenges.  The memo allows defense components to freeze civilian hiring, terminate temporary hires and reduce base operating funds. It also allows components to curtail travel, training and conferences and to curtail administrative expenses.

The memo — dated today — points to the threat of sequestration and the continued use of a continuing resolution as a way to fund the department. Sequestration was to have

become effective Jan. 2, but Congress delayed its activation until March 1 to give lawmakers more time to come up with an alternative. It would impose major across-the-board spending cuts.

Since Congress did not approve an appropriations act for fiscal 2013, the Defense Department has been operating under a continuing resolution and will continue to do so at least through March 27.

Because most operating funding was planned to increase from fiscal 2012 to fiscal 2013, but instead is being held at fiscal 2012 levels under the continuing resolution, funds will run short at current rates of expenditure if the continuing resolution continues through the end of the fiscal year in its current form, Carter wrote in the memo.

Given this budgetary uncertainty, the department must take steps now, the deputy secretary said. “I therefore authorize all Defense components to begin implementing measures that will help mitigate execution risks,” the memo reads. “For now, and to the extent possible, any actions taken must be reversible at a later date in the event that Congress acts to remove the risks. … The actions should be structured to minimize harmful effects on our people and on operations and unit readiness.”

The memo allows components to review contracts and studies for possible cost savings, to cancel third- and fourth-quarter ship maintenance, and to examine ground and aviation depot-level maintenance. This last must be finished by Feb. 15.

It also calls on all research and development and production and contract modifications that obligate more than $500 million to be cleared with the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics before being awarded.  For science and technology accounts, the components must provide the undersecretary and the assistant secretary of defense for research and engineering with an assessment of the budgetary impacts that the budgetary uncertainty will cause to research priorities.

Help for Renters Who Lost Personal Property in Hurricane Sandy

 Source: FEMA

TRENTON, N.J. – Renters who need to repair or replace essential items lost in Hurricane Sandy can get help from the Small Business Administration.

Many survivors are learning that their insurance is not enough to cover all of their losses. Only 43 percent of renters have insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute.  Survivors may qualify for long-term, low-interest SBA loans to repair or replace personal property items such as clothing, furniture, cars, or appliances damaged or destroyed in the disaster. The deadline to return a disaster loan application is Jan. 30.

Money is available for necessary expenses and serious needs caused by Hurricane Sandy that are not covered by insurance or other programs. Items such as textbooks and computers used for education, professional tools, household furnishings, disaster-related medical, dental, or funeral costs and storm damage to vehicles may qualify for FEMA grants.  Renters must return their SBA loan application to be considered for these grants.

Survivors may apply online using the electronic loan application via SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov/ela. For additional information, contact an SBA disaster assistance customer service center by calling 800-659-2955 or TTY 800-877-8339, emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov or visiting sba.gov. SBA customer service representatives are available at all disaster recovery centers throughout the state. Centers can be found online at fema.gov/DRC.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.  Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blogwww.twitter.com/femawww.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema. Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate’s activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema.

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.  SBA’s Disaster Assistance Program provides long term, low-interest loans to homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes.

11Days OneBeatONEBEAT is a music residency and tour program that brings together innovative young musicians from around the world. Apply Now.

Source:  Department of State / Found Sound Nation

Until January 21, 2013 we are accepting applications from innovative, socially-committed musicians to apply to become OneBeat 2013 Fellows.  In the fall of 2013, approximately 25 musicians from around the world will be selected as OneBeat Fellows, and will come together in the U.S. for four weeks to collaboratively write, produce, and perform original music, and develop ways that music can make a positive impact on our local and global communities.  Our mission is to create a space for collaboration across cultural divides, so we invite musicians from all backgrounds: hip-hop, traditional, experimental, electronic, jazz, classical, sound and multimedia art, and more.

Applications are due January 21, 2013 at 5pm EST.

This year we are inviting musicians from up to 39 countries, who are between the ages of 19-35.  Please click here to find out if you are eligible.  Musicians may apply for OneBeat by completing the online application - 1beat.org/2013apply.  If you have any questions about OneBeat, or want to get involved, please write us at1beat@foundsoundnation.org.  OneBeat is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and produced by Found Sound Nation. 

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