WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is assuring Pentagon workers they will not face layoffs immediately if the government cannot avert the year-end federal tax increases and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff."

In a letter to all Defense Department employees Thursday, Panetta said he does not believe the Pentagon's day-to-day operations would change dramatically in the days after the spending cuts went into effect.

He also said that if the Pentagon has to operate for an extended period on reduced funding, then layoffs or other personnel actions may have to be considered. He added that if layoffs are necessary, advance notice will be provided.


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