The Defense Department says it might only have to furlough its civilian workforce for six days, rather than the planned 11 days.
No final decision has been made, but Pentagon officials told The Associated Press that they think can come up with an additional $500 million to $900 million in savings during the final months of the fiscal year which means furloughs. If they can find $500 million, furlough days will be cut to eight days. If $900 million can be cut elsewhere, furlough days could be reduced to just six days.
About 650,000 department civilians have been taking one furlough day each week since early July. The furloughs were expected to save roughly $2 billion.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has said he’d keep looking for ways to cut the number of furlough days. Hagel has been getting an earful on furloughs as he traveled to several military installations this summer.
According to AP, “officials said the savings are the result of a number of things, including penny-pinching by the military services and Congress’ decision to give the Pentagon more flexibility in moving money around between accounts.”
Even if the savings are found, the department still faces furloughs during next fiscal year, during which $52 billion in cuts must be made, if sequestration stays in effect.