2014-03-12T004520Z_1_CBREA2B023P00_RTROPTP_2_USA-OBAMA-SPEECH

U.S. military braces for budget battles with Congress

Members of the joint chiefs of staff await President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill in WashingtonBy Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Top U.S. defense officials are bracing for a brutal season of budget negotiations, warning U.S. lawmakers that the U.S. military will gradually become unable to respond to emerging crises if Congress blocks the Pentagon’s plans to cut military compensation, close bases and retire entire fleets of aircraft. Senior officials have also begun mapping out in stark terms what additional weapons and capabilities will be sacrificed if Congress does not reverse mandatory budget cuts that are due to resume in fiscal 2016 under a process known as sequestration. …

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