WASHINGTON — The Pentagon will not let an impending $46 billion in budget cuts erode U.S. military power, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Friday. He said the cuts will “cause pain” but insisted that they can be managed without hurting national security.
At his first news conference since taking over for Leon Panetta as Pentagon chief, Hagel struck a more relaxed tone about the budget reductions, which are part of $85 billion in government-wide spending cuts that were taking effect Friday at midnight.
Whereas Panetta had warned of “catastrophic” effects that could reduce America to the status of a “second-rate” military power, Hagel said he believed the budget crisis can be managed in ways that do not put U.S. national security in jeopardy.
Hagel said the U.S. is “the best fighting force, the most capable fighting force, the most powerful fighting force in the world. The management of this institution, starting with the Joint Chiefs, are not going to allow this capacity to erode.”
Read more at Official Wire. By Robert Burns.