WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- U.S. military leaders said mandated budget cuts would have serious consequences, including the curtailing of training for 80 percent of the ground forces.
U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said the $46 billion in cuts to the Pentagon in the sequester deal between the White House and Congress would force him to extend deployments of troops in Afghanistan.
"If we have to reduce the amount of training we give our pilots, they will go in with a hell of a lot less capability. That means mistakes will be made. That means we'll have accidents. That means we'll be more likely to be shot down by enemy fire," he said.
The Washington Post said the U.S. Navy delayed the deployment of an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf as a result of the looming cuts and U.S. Air Force representatives said reductions would force the cutting of 200,000 flying hours.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta notified 800,000 employees Wednesday that they may face a 20 percent pay cut if furloughs are implemented as a result of the sequester, the Post reported.