- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Defense Department’s civilian workforce could be cut by 128,000 people, if automatic budget cuts set to begin January are not stopped, a leading House Republican said Thursday.

The Pentagon is already due to lose about 39,000 civilian jobs over the next five years because of a $500 billion budget cut. It would lose another 89,000 if Congress fails to cut $1.2 trillion from future federal deficits and so-called budget sequestration measures take effect on Jan. 2, said Rep. J. Randy Forbes, Virginia Republican and chairman of the House Armed Services readiness subcommittee.

“The result of any such cuts … would be long-term, irreversible damage to the workforce,” Mr. Forbes said.

A Pentagon official told the committee Thursday that he was unaware of any planning inside the Defense Department for sequestration.

“[The defense secretary] intends to continue to work with Congress to address the effects of sequestration,” said Frederick E. Vollrath, the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for readiness and force management.