Deal with budget, Pentagon tells Congress

Jan. 23, 2013 at 10:04 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- U.S. congressional leaders are called on to ensure the U.S. Defense Department has the financial means necessary to make the nation secure, a spokesman said.

The Defense Department has expressed concern about the $500 billion in defense spending at stake should lawmakers fail to agree on budget issues.

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

Pentagon spokesman George Little said spending cuts were "a drag" on Defense Department dealings.

"I think it is a justifiable concern on their part and responsibility to address it rests with Congress," he said. "It's time to move beyond the 'fiscal cliff' and get a deal done."

Budget issues, he added, were having an effect on the morale of service personnel deployed overseas.

U.S. Air Force Gen. William Shelton said that, despite budget concerns, his defense team was keeping a close eye on U.S. satellites monitoring foreign threats.

Countries like North Korea, he said, have "very immature" space programs, though there are growing threats that extend beyond immediate budgetary concerns.

"Others around the world are very mature and have developed things that we know would be deleterious to our efforts in space," he was quoted by the Defense Department's news service as saying.

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