Q and A with Ashton Carter, Deputy Defense Secretary

January 28, 2013

The Pentagon has issued guidance to prepare for as much as $50 billion in automatic cuts this year unless Congress approves a deficit reduction package, mainly the spending measures, by April. Hiring has been frozen, travel and training reduced; civilian worker furloughs, program cuts and contract delays may follow.

The guidelines came days before lawmakers edged toward a compromise to avert the so-called fiscal cliff, with House Republicans agreeing to suspend the debt ceiling in exchange for Senate Democrats agreeing to pass a budget. All this comes as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta prepares to retire and former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel awaits Senate confirmation to take his place.

Working for Panetta is Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who served for more than two years as Defense Department acquisition chief where he drove acquisition, logistics and efficiency reforms to generate savings to offset some of those cuts. Carter became the deputy in October 2011.

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