Report: Pentagon furlough days likely to be cut

If the department can reach $500 million in reduced budget costs, the furloughs could be cut by three days.

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The Pentagon decided to furlough more than 650,000 of its nearly 800,000 furloughs for 11 days, in order to save roughly $2 billion in the 2013 fiscal year.

The savings were part of the Pentagon’s plans to reduce its 2013 budget by $37 billion under sequestration.

Hagel said in May that the furloughs were being taken because there was no alternative to make the required cuts, although Pentagon officials left open the door to future reductions in the number of furlough days.

Lawmakers have frequently criticized the civilian furloughs, 80 percent of which are being taken outside the Beltway, arguing that the cuts should be taken elsewhere.

The House voted last week in the Defense Appropriations bill to prohibit civilian furloughs in 2014.

The current round of furloughs are only for the 2013 fiscal year, as the Pentagon has not decided how it might handle a $52 billion cut it faces to its proposed budget if sequestration is not averted.