WASHINGTON Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said he notified Congress of plans to impose furloughs on the Pentagon’s civilian employees should automatic budget cuts take effect March 1 and “continue for a substantial period.”
Panetta said in a message Wednesday to about 800,000 Department of Defense employees that the “vast majority” of them would have to take unpaid leave and that they would get at least 30 days’ notice if that is to happen.
“We are doing everything possible to limit the worst effects on DoD personnel but I regret that our flexibility within the law is extremely limited,” Panetta said. “The president has used his legal authority to exempt military personnel funding from sequestration, but we have no legal authority to exempt civilian personnel funding from reductions.”
Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter last week in congressional testimony said furloughs are likely to average one day a week for as many as 22 weeks, resulting in a 20 percent cut in pay for civilians.
Read more in Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.