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Outgoing Defense Secretary LeonPanetta speaks during his last news conference as defense secretary, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. at the Pentagon. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told Congress on Wednesday that if automatic government spending cuts kick in on March 1 he may be compelled to furlough the “vast majority” of the Defense Department’s 800,000 civilian workers.

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