Hagel Warns Congress to Stop Defense Budget Cuts

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is warning of severe and unacceptable effects on the U.S. military if Congress doesn't end the automatic spending cuts slated to slice $52 billion from the defense budget for 2014.

Hagel says in a letter sent Tuesday to the Senate Armed Services Committee leaders that the budget reductions would reduce the size, readiness and technological superiority of the military. The defense secretary says this would place "at much greater risk" the country's ability to meet national security requirements.

Hagel says the Defense Department hopes to avoid a second year of furloughs of civilian personnel during the 2014 budget year that begins Oct. 1. But he says if the cuts stay in effect, the department will have to consider involuntary reductions in force to reduce personnel costs.

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