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WASHINGTON: The Pentagon has begun laying off many of its 46,000 temporary and contract employees and cutting maintenance on ships and aircraft in an effort to slow spending due to fears of new defence budget cuts, Deputy Defence Secretary Ashton Carter said yesterday.
Carter said he had asked the military services to produce detailed plans by February 1 to say what they are doing to reduce short-term spending before roughly $45bn in new cuts are due to go into effect on March 1.
He asked for detailed long-term planning by February 8 on how the services will handle the $45bn in across-the-board cuts, which will go into effect on March 1 unless Congress agrees on an alternative package of spending reductions.
The Pentagon currently is absorbing $487bn in cuts to projected defense spending over 10 years that were agreed in the Budget Control Act of 2011. That law also required the additional across-the-board cuts by January 1, 2013, unless Congress agreed to an alternative.