Pentagon No. 2 Issues Guidance to 'Mitigate' Budget Uncertainty

January 11, 2013

After months of near-silence on planning for sequestration, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter on Thursday instructed Pentagon managers to prepare specific actions in case Congress and the White House fail to enact a new budget deal.

Carter’s guidance memo to all top service and civilian directors authorized such steps as a hiring freeze, a review of contracts, cessation of travel and supply purchases, as well as release of temporary employees. Near-term actions should be accompanied by “intensified” long-term planning, it said.

Reviewing the harm to defense readiness and planning from the looming March 1 date for automatic across-the-board agency cuts and the March 27 expiration of the current continuing resolution, Carter wrote, “For now, and to the extent possible, any actions taken must be reversible at a later date in the event that Congress acts to remove the risks I have described. The actions should be structured to minimize harmful effects on our people and on operations and unit readiness.”

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