Odierno: Sequester puts security at risk

Feb. 13, 2013 at 9:35 AM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Fiscal uncertainty over defense spending may degrade the military's ability to defend national interests for the next decade, said U.S. Army Gen. Ray Odierno.

U.S. military leaders testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on sequestration, a series of pending defense spending cuts.

Congress in a New Year's Day vote postponed sequestration until the end of March. The deal delayed more than $54 billion in military spending reductions.

Odierno, the Army's chief of staff, testified that already constrained defense budgets coupled with further reductions created a "perfect storm" for military leaders.

"If not addressed, the current fiscal uncertainty will significantly and rapidly degrade Army readiness for the next five to 10 years," he said.

Critics of budget measures proposed by U.S. President Barack Obama say spending cuts, not tax increases, are part of the solution. Obama, in this State of the Union Address Tuesday, said "these cuts, known here in Washington as the sequester, are a really bad idea."

U.S. Marines Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said defense cuts would "severely limit our ability to implement our defense strategy."

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