The Pentagon has about 800,000 civilian employees; they have not yet been officially notified of furloughs. Carter said the furloughs would be expected to save $5 billion. No military positions will be cut, he said.
Carter said the Pentagon already is eliminating all 46,000 of its temporary civilian workers in anticipation of budget cuts.
Carter also disclosed that he will remain on the job as deputy defense secretary in President Barack Obama's second term. He said Obama had called him after nominating Chuck Hagel to be his next defense secretary, asking Carter to remain.
"I agreed to do that, and I'm enthusiastic about doing that," he said, adding that he believes Hagel will be a good Pentagon chief.
Carter had been mentioned as a possible Obama choice for energy secretary.