If a deal is not met to avert the fiscal cliff, big spending cuts could be on the way to the defense budget.
According to Ashton Carter, Deputy Defense Secretary, around $55 million dollars would be cut from the annual 2013 budget. The cuts would come at a time when the military is already facing budget cuts.
"It's pretty difficult to run a show when you don't know how much money you have," retired Marine General, Tom Braaten, said.
Braaten said adding more cuts on such short notice would be detrimental to the budget. He said the biggest problem is the unknown of where the cuts would go.
"It could affect personnel, it could affect bases, it could affect training, it could affect our civilian personnel that are so important to the military," he said. "It's just a wide way it could go."
A fact sheet from the Republican controlled House Armed Services Committee described the looming defense cuts as an "unacceptable risk" that will "severely diminish America's global posture" and lead to the loss of more than one million private sector jobs.
Braaten agrees, and said it could be a long road ahead for the many businesses in Eastern Carolina that thrive on military business.
"We have so many good people and good business that care for each other that we'll get through it," he said. "But I think it's going to be a real challenge."
The legislative path forward rests in the hands of the Senate. House members return to Washington Sunday night.