Budget cuts could hurt Afghan war: Pentagon
By Meena Haseeb - Sat Jan 26, 8:51 am
Pentagon officials on Friday warned that across-the-board budget cuts would harm Afghan war effort as the Obama administration intends to shield the military’s combat mission from the reductions, The Associated Press reported.
Ashton Carter, the deputy defense secretary, said in an interview in his office with a small group of reporters, “There will be second-order effects on the war.
Ashton further added, deferred maintenance on weapons and other equipment, for example, will eventually erode the combat fitness of military units deploying to Afghanistan.
United States is currently having 66,000 troops deployed in Afghanistan however Washington is considering to reduce the number of troops this year and by the end of 2014.
The administration holds out hope that Congress will come up with a deficit-cutting mechanism to replace the across-the-board spending cuts due to take effect March 1, but Carter suggested that hopes are not high.
In the meantime Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have repeatedly warned that the threatened defense cuts, amounting to about $50 billion this budget year, would hurt national security.
Carter said he feared that the message has not been heard widely enough in Congress and across the country.
He also added undreds of thousands of Pentagon civilian employees will face furloughs and reduced paychecks by April if the cuts take effect in March.
They would lose one day of work per week for the remainder of the budget year, which ends in September, he said adding that this is painful to use.