SIMI VALLEY, Calif (Reuters) – The US military’s ability to stay ahead of technology advances by other countries and respond to multiple crises around the world is already in jeopardy and will get worse unless mandatory budget cuts are reversed, top US officials warned on Saturday.
Former defense secretary Robert Gates said the budget cuts were eroding confidence in US leadership around the world and that it was time to end the “incredibly stupid” reductions.
Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert told Reuters the Navy would have to cut forces and reduce its ability to position ships around the world if lawmakers did not ease or reverse the cuts, which are due to resume in fiscal 2016.
“Electronic warfare, electronic attack, anti-submarine warfare – all of these higher-end areas – will fall further behind because we’re just not investing in them,” he said in an interview at a conference at the Reagan Presidential Library.
He said the Navy’s ability to stay ahead of potential adversaries would “degrade significantly” unless the cuts ended.
On Saturday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced a push for new weapons, including robotics, autonomous systems, miniaturisation, big data and additive manufacturing, to ensure continued US military dominance.