WASHINGTON – Editor's note: The following story has been corrected for clarification. Military officials note the furlough notices will be sent this week to commanders, not to the individual employees.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England has notified Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin that a notice of pending furloughs will be sent this week to the commanders of military installations where 100,000 affected civilian employees and contractors work.
According to an official in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the letters are to be mailed on Wednesday. If Congress fails to pass a war funding bill that will be signed by President Bush, the furloughs would go into effect in February for Army and March for Marines civilians.
The letters will “go out to commanders to give specific guidance on notification procedures as well as discussions on bargaining,” one Pentagon official told FOX News. The "bargaining" refers to deals with the contractors who provide the civilian employees. The message will be simple, the official said: “We are out of money."
In his letter to Levin, D-Mich., England requests the senator's support in providing much-needed Global War on Terror supplemental funds, and notes that these furloughs would "negatively affect our ability to execute base operations and training activities … and the critical support our civilian employees provide to our war fighters, support which is key to our current operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq."
This first round of letters is essentially a warning that if funding is not approved by Congress a final furlough notice will follow in mid-January explaining that the money isn't there to keep the employees working.
FOX News' Jennifer Griffin and Justin Fishel contributed to this report.