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Hagel says number of furlough days being reduced

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Pentagon says it's easing the impact of automatic budget cuts on as many as 800,000 civilian employees, sharply reducing the number of unpaid furlough days they will have to take in coming months.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday a new spending law lets the military services cut furlough days from 22 to 14.

The spending bill was signed earlier this week by President Barack Obama. It shifts $10 billion to operations and maintenance to give the Pentagon more flexibility to deal with billions of dollars in automatic, across-the-board cuts that kicked in March 1.

Hagel says the move will reduce the amount of cuts the military has to make in the 2014 budget year.

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