US Defense Secretary Nominee Says Defense Budget Cuts Need to End

© AP Photo / Susan WalshDefense Secretary Nominee Ashton Carter
Defense Secretary Nominee Ashton Carter - Sputnik International
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The nominee to become the next US Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, said he supported US President Barack Obama’s budget proposal to increase defense spending above the spending budget caps.

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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The Secretary of Defense and Congress need to work together to end mandatory defense budget spending caps, or sequestration, the nominee to become the next US Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, told a Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday.

“I very much hope that we can find a way together out of the wilderness of sequester. Sequester is risky to our defense, it introduces turbulence and uncertainty that are wasteful, and it conveys a misleadingly diminished picture of our power in the eyes of friends and foes alike,” Carter said.

Carter added he supported US President Barack Obama’s budget proposal to increase defense spending above the spending budget caps. Obama’s $561 billion defense budget requests approximately $38 billion over the budget cap levels.

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Under the defense-related provisions of sequestration, defense spending would be cut by 10 percent between 2013 and 2021, resulting in $487 billion in cost savings, according to the Pentagon.

The Pentagon opposes sequestration, arguing in a 2014 report that budget cuts pose a challenge to military readiness and modernization.

The Senate needs to approve Carter to become defense secretary. Current Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced late last year that he would step down after serving in that capacity for nearly two years.

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