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Pentagon chief can’t offer hope in budget cuts

July 22, 2013 • National News


In this photo taken July 17, 2013, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel talks with Air Force personnel at Joint Base Charleston near Charleston, S.C., on the last day of a three-day trip to visit bases in the Carolinas and Florida. When Hagel told civilian Department of Defense workers on the base that job furloughs, that have forced a 20% pay cut on most of the militay’s civilian workforce, will likely continue next year, and that it make it even worse, the audience softly gasped in surprise and gave a few depressed low whistles. He said that if the department has to absorb another $52 billion in cuts next year because of the federal sequester, there will likely be layoffs instead of furloughs. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The audience gasped in surprise and gave a few low whistles as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel delivered the news that furloughs, which have forced a 20 percent pay cut on most of the military’s civilian workforce, probably will continue next year, and it might get worse.

“Those are the facts of life,” Hagel told about 300 Defense Department employees, most of them middle-aged civilians, last week at an Air Force reception hall on a military base in Charleston.

Future layoffs also are possible for the department’s civilian workforce of more than 800,000 employees, Hagel said, if Congress fails to stem the cuts in the next budget year, which starts Oct. 1.

On the heels of the department’s first furlough Login to read more

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