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Military readiness may suffer if sequester cuts occur -Obama

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Fri, 8 Feb 2013 21:47 GMT
Author: Reuters
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WASHINGTON, Feb 8 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Friday that deep across-the-board government spending cuts that will go into effect on March 1 unless Congress acts to prevent them could have a "severe impact" on U.S. military preparedness.

"There is no reason, no reason for that to happen," Obama said at a farewell ceremony for outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

"Putting our fiscal house in order calls for a balanced approach, not massive indiscriminate cuts that could have a severe impact on our military preparedness," he said.

Obama also expressed confidence in his nominee to replace Panetta as Pentagon chief, former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, who had a rocky confirmation hearing last week with a full Senate vote yet to be scheduled.

"Keeping us prepared will be the mission of my nominee to be the next secretary of defense, a combat veteran with the experience, judgment and vision that our troops deserve, Chuck Hagel," Obama said. (Reporting By Mark Felsenthal and Matt Spetalnick; Editing by David Brunnstrom)

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