Speaking to a crowd of nearly 3,000 U.S. marines at Camp Pendleton in Southern California, Obama said advocates of a strong U.S. military in Congress were defeating their own purpose by refusing to budge on sequestration.
"You get up every morning and do your job," Obama said. "We need to make sure people in Washington also get up every day and do their jobs."
The president said the pinch was being felt in the form of less training for military units and fewer services for military families. In the long run, he said, the sequestration's impact on education and infrastructure would dull the economy.
"A strong military depends on a strong economy," he said.
Obama saluted the 12 years of effort the Marines had put into battling al-Qaida in Iraq and Afghanistan and for the Leathernecks who provide security for far-flung U.S. embassies.
"The United States is not going to retreat from the world," the president said. "We don't get terrorized. The United States is going to remain the greatest force for freedom the world has ever had."
While Obama did not directly address the ongoing terror alert and embassy closures in the Middle East and North Africa, he assured the audience he would not allow a wind-down of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan to lead to a "hollowed-out" military.
Obama also reiterated the need to stamp out sexual assaults against female troops.
"It undermines what the military stands for and what the Marine Corps stands for when sexual assault occurs in our ranks," he said.