Army brass orders commanders to prepare cuts

As the war spending bill languishes in a dispute between the White House and Congress, Army brass are getting ready for the day the money runs out.

In a four-page memo, the Army vice chief of staff tells top officers at all Army bases to develop plans to use troops to replace civilians and contractors who may have to be laid off in late February.

That's when money from maintenance and operations funds now being used to fight the wars will run out, unless Congress acts.

The memo designates that all military personnel other than those preparing to go to the war zones should be considered available as the substitutes for civilians.

The memo comes as Defense Secretary Gates renews his call for Congress to approve the war funding bill. He has warned that as many as 200,000 civilian employees and contractors could be laid off if it doesn't.

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