WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon is announcing plans today to furlough about 680,000 of its civilian employees for 11 days through the end of this fiscal year.
The plan would allow only limited exceptions for the military to avoid or reduce the unpaid days off.
Secretary of State Chuck Hagel is expected to announce the decision today when he speaks to Defense Department civilians in Virginia.
According to a memo obtained by The Associated Press, the decision results from what Hagel called "an unpleasant set of choices" -- trying to avoid furloughing workers, while also looking to use money to restore sharp cuts in training and flight operations.
He says in the memo that if the "budgetary situation" allows it, he will look to bring an early end to the furloughs.
Automatic budget cuts initially forced the Pentagon to warn that most of its 800,000 civilians would be forced to take 22 unpaid days off.
When lawmakers approved a new spending bill at the end of March, they gave the Pentagon greater latitude to find savings, and the furlough days were cut to 14. Under pressure from military leaders and members of Congress, the Navy will be able to avoid furloughs for tens of thousands of workers at shipyards.