WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the Pentagon will not let the impending $46 billion in budget cuts erode the military's capacity to be what he called the best fighting force in world.
Hagel says he is confident the president and Congress will eventually reach a consensus to avert what he predicted would be tremendous damage to the U.S. military.
The automatic, across-the-board cuts scheduled to begin at midnight will slash the defense budget through September. Additional cuts would continue as long as sequester remains in effect.
The military services have begun to lay out details of the impact on the troops, including furloughs for roughly 800,000 workers, the delay in deployment of an aircraft carrier to the Middle East and deep decreases in training, maintenance and equipment programs.