Little: Hagel will soon make furlough decision

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel plans to make a decision soon on the scope of civilian furloughs resulting from sequestration budget cuts, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said on Wednesday.

Little said the decision will occur in the near future after Hagel conducts a review of analysis on the budget. Little acknowledged recent news reports saying that some services do not need furloughs to reach their sequestration spending goals.

"There are different pockets of money in different places for each of the services," Little said. "To be totally straightforward, the math does work for some services to avoid some furloughs, at a minimum. For other services, it is harder."

In an effort to be consistent, the general principle thus far has been to remain as one team in one fight.

Hagel is reviewing the DoD budget and its operation constraints.

"We're in the middle of a $37 billion to $40 billion cut over a six-month period, and we need to look closely at that, but I expect him to make a decision soon," Little said. "(The situation) points out the absurdity of sequestration. You don't have a lot of choice, in some cases, over where to save money and where to cut. The across-the-board cut is forcing some tough decisions. The goal of the furlough so far... is to ensure, at least on this issue, there is some consistency."

The original proposal was that DoD civil personnel would need to be furloughed for 22 days during the rest of fiscal year 2013, which ends on September 30. Officials have reduced the furlough estimate to 14 days and the DoD is examining exemption requests.