The Washington Post


The move amounts to a 20 percent cut in pay for hundreds of thousands of defense workers over the next three months.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday that he has told managers to freeze civilian hiring, cancel and delay some contracts, curtail training and some maintenance and prepare for unpaid furloughs because of uncertainty over the federal budget.

Civilian federal employment at the Defense Department would be cut along with the planned reductions in military personnel in coming years under a House-Senate agreement announced Tuesday evening.

Washington-area members of the House will ask their colleagues to reject a Senate plan that could result in about a 5 percent loss of Defense Department civilian positions, along with a similar cut in contractor jobs.