Civilian employees at the Carlisle Barracks have been told to plan for up to 22 unpaid furlough days if automatic federal government spending cuts kick in on March 1.
Furloughed employees would be required to take one day of unpaid leave a week, probably starting in late April, until the end of the fiscal year on September 30, according to a letter from the Deputy Commandant.
Lt. Col. Elizabeth Robbins, spokesperson for the Pentagon, told The Sentinel of Carlisle that the furloughs would have a significant impact on the local economy and beyond.
"If you or I lose a day in the [work] week, we'd be less prone to eat out or get that new pair of running shoes. We're expecting about $150 million less entering the economy in Pennsylvania," Robbins told the newspaper. "It will [also] significantly impact our readiness and ability to respond to our country."
The Defense Department furloughs would likely affect 834 civilian workers - about 80 percent of the workforce - at Carlisle Barracks and the Army War College.
All affected workers would be notified at least 30 days in advance.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told Congress earlier in the day that if legislators cannot strike a deficit-reduction deal with the White House before March 1, he may have to shorten the workweek for the vast majority of the Defense Department's 800,000 civilian workers.
Panetta also said the across-the-board spending reductions would "put us on a path toward a hollow force," meaning a military incapable of fulfilling all of its missions.
The Pentagon would have to cut $46 billion this budget year unless a deal is reached. The unpaid leaves for civilian workers are expected to save $4 billion to $5 billion.
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