If the automatic cuts currently scheduled to take place on March 1 stay in effect, DoD estimates its spending authority would be reduced by $45 billion in fiscal 2013. Compounding the problem, the cuts would have to be absorbed in just the final seven months of the year.

The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a Washington think tank, estimated this week that a funding reduction of that size compressed into such a short time frame would require the Pentagon to make several painful decisions, including undergoing costly renegotiations for acquisition programs and furloughing virtually every one of its non-uniformed employees without pay for as long as federal law allows: 22 work days per year.