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DOD Honors Civilian Employees for Excellence

By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 8, 2013 – Thirty-four Defense Department civilian employees were honored at the Pentagon today for displaying honor, integrity and excellence in the workplace.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the “Spirit Of Service” awards ceremony, part of the Defense Department’s observance of Public Service Recognition Week, at the Pentagon on May 8, 2013. Carter thanked the 34 recipients for their dedication to the department and the country. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

“Your drive, your innovation, you set the bar for us,” Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter said at the “Spirit Of Service” awards ceremony, part of the department’s observance of Public Service Recognition Week.

Established in 1985, Public Service Recognition Week honors federal, state and local government employees across the country.

“It’s their service day in and day out that supports the war fighter and serves the American people,” Carter said at today’s ceremony.

Carter noted this year’s awards come at a time when the department and its civilian workforce are turning “a great strategic corner from the decade that has defined us largely since 9/11 to the problems and opportunities that will define our country’s security future.”

He described the threat of sequestration-triggered furloughs -- set to impact as many as 800,000 DOD civilian employees as soon as next month -- as “stupid,” and said the department is working to avoid them.

“Although [Defense] Secretary [Chuck] Hagel has not made a final decision, the only thing I can say is he is doing everything he possibly can to avoid or minimize them and look at all the options we possibly have to make these cuts,” Carter said.

“Spirit of Service” award honorees displayed exemplary values in their daily work through innovative achievements, by acts of volunteerism or through other outstanding accomplishments.

In praising the awardees, Carter wondered aloud, given budget constraints that have frozen promotions and threatened furloughs, why such outstanding public servants continue to strive to excel in their daily duties.

“You do it because of the mission,” he said. “There is absolutely nothing in the world that recommends us except what we do, which is we defend the country.”

And, Carter added, knowing that “we are part of something that is bigger than ourselves. That is the reward we get.”

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