Pentagon chief sounds alarm over US budget cuts

Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel sounded an alarm bell about budget cuts he said threaten America`s security and global military role, while "gambling" over the risk of an unexpected threat.

Simi Valley (US): Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel sounded an alarm bell about budget cuts he said threaten America`s security and global military role, while "gambling" over the risk of an unexpected threat.

The cuts, which amount to nearly USD 1 trillion for the Department of Defence over a decade, were "too steep, too deep and too abrupt," Hagel told a defence conference yesterday in California.

"This is an irresponsible way to govern, and it forces the department into a very bad set of choices."

Automatic cuts of USD 52 billion set to take place in fiscal 2014 represent 10 per cent of the Pentagon budget.

The Navy`s global presence is already down 10 per cent since sequestration began in March, while the Army has cancelled training rotations for 15 per cent of its forces and the Air Force 25 per cent of its training events.

"The effects will be felt for a long period of time to come.

By continuing to cancel training for non-deploying personnel, we will create a backlog of training requirements that could take years to recover from," Hagel said.