Even with furloughs, Army may not be able to make payroll under sequester

U.S. Army Secretary John McHugh; The Army may fall short of meeting budget sequestration targets. U.S. Army Secretary John McHugh; The Army may fall short of meeting budget sequestration targets. Ted S. Warren/AP

Even if the Army furloughs every one of its more than 250,000 civilian employees for the maximum of 22 days this year, the service may fall short of meeting budget sequestration targets, briefing documents show.

The documents, obtained by AOL Defense, show Army leaders believe that unless Congress grants them the authority to shift money around in budget accounts, they may run out of money to pay some civilians in the event of sequestration. The sequester, cutting funds across all federal agencies, is scheduled to go into effect at the beginning of March unless Congress acts to stop it. 

"Without reprogramming authority, multiple commands [are] at risk of not supporting payroll even after [a] 22-day furlough," the briefing documents state.

Salaries for members of the uniformed military are exempt from sequestration. Other areas affecting service members will be cut steeply, however. For example, training will be sharply reduced, Army officials say. And the flow of equipment back from Afghanistan to units stateside will slow to a trickle.

The documents also detail cuts to "every Army procurement program." As a result, the cost per weapon will rise. Reductions in purchases of spare parts and supplies will affect about 3,000 companies, AOL Defense reported, with about a third of them put at risk of bankruptcy.

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