Pentagon Acts to Limit Spending in Case Cutbacks Begin in March
January 10, 2013
Fearing that Congress and the president may not reach a deal on spending and the deficit, the Pentagon’s leadership is freezing civilian hiring, limiting maintenance work and delaying approval of some contracts.
The money-saving steps, announced Thursday by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, are designed to be reversible should a compromise be reached to avoid automatic reductions in federal spending set to begin in March. The Pentagon’s share could be up to $500 billion in cuts over 10 years.
To prepare for “this extraordinary budget uncertainty that we’re confronting, the leadership of this department has decided that it must begin to take steps in the coming weeks that would reduce the potential damage that we would face should Congress fail to act to prevent the cuts,” Mr. Panetta said.
Specific steps were outlined in a memo distributed across the military and civilian departments and signed by Ashton Carter, the deputy defense secretary, and included curtailing nonessential travel, training and conferences.