Defense firms serving the federal government have greater clarity about the coming years now that a spending bill has passed, but the clearer view shows a future of reduced government spending. "Austerity is still a very real deal," said Stan Soloway, president and chief executive of the Arlington-based industry group Professional Services Council. "Agencies still have to be very careful how they spend their dollars, but knowing how much they have...is a significant improvement over where we were."

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