NORFOLK-- With the 'fiscal cliff' averted, attention is now focused on the looming sequestration process and the half-trillion dollars in defense cuts that would be triggered March 1, unless Congress takes necessary deficit-reduction steps to stop it.

Hampton Roads could be hard hit, with defense-related civil servants among the 800,000 employees the Pentagon has said it would have to furlough.

In addition, the private sector that services the military could be forced into laying off employees.

'It is still an issue that needs to be addressed,' said Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance Executive Director Craig Quigley.

The retired Navy Rear Admiral told 13News the uncertainty is causing problems for business people. 'If you're a business, large or small that has contracts with the federal government to provide a service of some sort, that will be affected very much if sequestration takes place,' he said.

'You're not going to hire, you're not going to invest until you have some clarity as to what's going to happen to you after the first of March,' said Quigley.

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