- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Pentagon said Wednesday that military promotions and bonuses could halt if automatic defense budget cuts, known as sequestration, are not reversed.

In a letter to Congress, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel noted possible actions the Pentagon could take if $52 billion in automatic spending cuts become effective in the next fiscal year.

Such actions include defense civilian layoffs, furloughs and hiring freezes, Mr. Hagel said in the letter, which accompanied an assessment of next year’s budget cuts requested by Congress. (Click here to view PDF of Hagel’s letter)

Other “draconian actions” include ending troops’ permanent-change-of-station moves to different assignments every several years.

The spending cuts were enacted after lawmakers failed to agree on how to close a $1.3 billion deficit, and will slash the defense budget by $500 billion over the next decade.

To avoid the cuts, Mr. Hagel called for lawmakers to slow the growth in military pay raises, raise health care fees, retire low-priority weapons systems, allow for troop cuts, close bases and other cost-saving measures they have opposed.

This week, the Pentagon began furloughing civilians, requiring about 650,000 workers to take 11 days of unpaid leave by October in order to achieve a $37 billion spending reduction.

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