Tens of thousands Department of Defense civilian employees could receive layoff notices this year—and they would be warned about it just four days before the 2012 election. The layoffs could be avoided if $1.2 trillion in spending cuts are killed—and senior Pentagon officials insisted nothing is set in stone. If the spending cuts are approved, then nearly 10 percent of the 800,000 civilian employees could be laid off. Since all defense employees have to be notified 60 days in advance—the layoffs would officially come through for Jan. 1—then the notices would arrive in mailboxes just four days before the election. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said the cuts would be disastrous if they went through. It could be bad news for Obama as well: key swing states such as Florida and Virginia will be especially hard hit.