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With Some New Flexibility, Officials Reassess Spending Cuts

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 26, 2013 – Now that Congress has passed a continuing resolution that will fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, Defense Department officials are trying to find the best way to make $46 billion in spending cuts, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said today.

The latest continuing resolution, passed March 21, provides DOD with limited flexibility in making the mandatory cuts.

Even with some relief under the continuing resolution, making the cuts will be "tough," Little said.

The department hopes to be able to reduce the number of days its civilian employees are furloughed, Little said, but he emphasized that no decisions have been made. Employees were given a brief reprieve last week, when DOD delayed delivery of furlough notices for about two weeks, pushing the start of any potential furloughs until at least mid-May.

Before the continuing resolution passed, officials expected that with few exceptions, Defense Department employees would have 22 unpaid furlough days through the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. "We're going to have to make a decision relatively soon," Little told reporters, adding that he’s unsure whether the decision will be made this week or next.

"The main concern we have right now -- one of many concerns, actually -- is the readiness of the force," he added. "We understand the impact to our DOD civilian workforce. This is a decision that we didn't take lightly, and it's problematic on many levels. But, when you're faced with a series of tough choices, this is one we felt like we had to make."

 

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