On the edge of the so-called “fiscal cliff,” Pentagon officials said Monday they could have to order furloughs for up to 800,000 civilian employees if lawmakers don't cancel pending spending reductions.

The military’s service chiefs, who have already been making cuts as part of a separate, long-term effort to wean down the defense budget, are now working to assess the impact of the congressionally mandated decreases if the White House and lawmakers fail to strike a last-minute deal. If no such agreement is reached before the end of 2012, the sweeping fiscal retrenchment would begin Wednesday.

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