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US military chiefs warn on bigger defense cuts

By Robert Burns

AP National Security Writer

LAST UPDATED: 8:02 a.m. HST, Nov 2, 2011


WASHINGTON >> U.S. military leaders have warned a House panel that cuts in defense spending beyond those already planned would deeply wound the armed services and jeopardize U.S. global influence.

The chiefs of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force testified Wednesday that bigger budget reductions would limit their ability to recover from 10 years of combat and undermine their efforts to retain experienced troops.

Their remarks reflected a consensus view in the Pentagon, shared by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. But some private analysts believe the warnings of dire consequences from steeper spending cuts are overblown.

Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, said a decade-long pullback in U.S. defense spending could lead potential adversaries to question the credibility of U.S. military power and challenge U.S. interests abroad.

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