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Defense Budget's Civilian Cuts -- Explained

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The announcement of a new round of BRAC closures and some careful trimming of military pay raises might have been the biggest personnel news from the highlights of the fiscal 2013 Pentagon budget released Thursday.

But a statement about civilian federal workers tucked in the plan's "operations expenses and personnel costs" section of the budget warrants some explaining.

The document said it would save $60 billion over the next five years with some of those cuts coming from "reductions in planned civilian pay raises." It turns out that Defense must plan for what the White House is going to do with civilian pay; President Obama will propose a 0.5 percent pay raise for civilian employees in fiscal 2013.

The Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe offers an explainer today: "The Pentagon had to make a guess on federal pay in order to write its budget, but the rate of civilian federal pay is proposed each year by the White House and set by Congress. (In this case, the military's bean counters guessed low -- but that's probably a smart guess considering the government's current financial condition.)"

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