Defense Department furloughs or other personnel actions related to sequestration would not immediately occur on Jan. 2, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta wrote in a memo to Pentagon personnel sent Thursday.
Any scheduled personnel actions would be immediately cancelled if Congress reaches a deficit reduction agreement and the department’s full funding is restored, Panetta wrote.
“Should we have to operate under reduced funding levels for an extended period of time, we may have to consider furloughs or other actions in the future,” he wrote.
The department would still have funding after Jan. 2, he wrote, adding this scenario is unlike the event of a government shutdown due to a lapse in appropriations.
Military endstrength will not be affected by the sequester, according to Panetta, as President Barack Obama exempted military personnel accounts.
Panetta recently told a National Press Club audience the threat of the fiscal cliff, which includes sequestration, prevents the department from forming the country’s long-term defense strategy.