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Report: Ashton Carter Memo Says Not to Assume Sequestration Will Happen

Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has told military departments and acquisition personnel to operate under current policy without assuming sequestration cuts will occur, according to an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg.

According to Tony Capaccio’s report, Carter wrote the Pentagon leadership team does not want personnel, programs and activities to feel the effects of sequestration before the cuts are scheduled to kick in Jan. 2.

This memo comes within a week of a White House memo outlining how the government will cover employers’ severance costs resulting from sequestration (click over to ExecutiveBiz for the story, also covering Lockheed Martin‘s response to that memo).

Defense programs face a $500 billion reduction over the next decade under sequestration unless a deficit reduction deal is reached between Congress and President Obama before Jan. 2.

Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Elizabeth Robbins told Bloomberg in an email that rather than cutting obligated fiscal year 2013 funds under the sequester, the Pentagon would cut unobligated fiscal 2013 funds.

Todd Harrison, a defense budget analyst for the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told Bloomberg the memo aligns with the Pentagon’s assumption that sequestration will not happen.

Harrison added if sequestration occurs, the Pentagon would have nine months to cut a whole fiscal year’s worth of funds, which he believes could lead to furloughs of civilian employees.

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