The Pentagon's plight has changed little following last week's agreement delaying sequestration two months until March 1, with the exception that by forcing automatic cuts to be carried out over seven months the impacts on civilian personnel will be more jarring, according to a defense budget expert.
In the absence of a bipartisan deal to replace the across-the-board spending reductions, DOD will be forced to implement rotating monthly furloughs of all 791,000 civilian workers, Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told reporters Wednesday.
"Not all the furloughs would happen at the same time," Harrison said, reported Government Executive. But planners should decide soon who would be furloughed and when "to help inform public debate so we could make a good decision as a nation on what we are going to do."
By reversing automatic cuts for the next two months and adjusting fiscal 2013 spending caps, the fiscal cliff deal will require defense officials to trim spending this year by only $48 billion, according to the paper Harrison released in conjunction with his briefing. Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale on Monday estimated sequestration would trigger cuts of $45 billion in FY 2013.