Pentagon: We're not crying wolf over budget cuts

LOLITA C. BALDOR
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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel pauses during a news conference at the Pentagon, Wednesday, July 31, 2013. Hagel warned that the Pentagon may have to mothball up to three Navy aircraft carriers and order more sharp reductions in the size of the Army and Marine Corps if Congress does not act to avoid massive budget cuts beginning in 2014. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pentagon officials insist they are not crying wolf when they say proposed budget cuts could severely harm the military.

In a detailed and stark warning, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said about $500 billion in automatic budget cuts slated to take effect over the next decade could leave the nation with an ill-prepared, underequipped military doomed to face more technologically advanced enemies.

He said that if Congress doesn't act to avoid the cuts, the Pentagon may be forced to mothball up to three Navy aircraft carriers and order additional sharp reductions in the size of the Army and Marine Corps — shortfalls the military hasn't seen since World War II.