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AP
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel pauses during a news conference at the Pentagon, Wednesday, July 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Hagel: Budget cuts could harm nation's defense

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is warning that the Pentagon may have to mothball up to three Navy aircraft carriers and order more sharp reductions in the size of the Army and Marine Corps if Congress doesn't act to avoid massive budget cuts beginning in 2014.

Hagel told Pentagon reporters Wednesday that the full result of the sweeping budget cuts over the next 10 years could leave the nation with an ill-prepared, under-equipped military doomed to face more technologically advanced enemies.

In his starkest terms to date, Hagel laid out a worst-case scenario for the U.S. military if the Pentagon is forced to slash more than $50 billion from the 2014 budget and $500 billion over the next 10 years as a result of congressionally mandated automatic spending cuts.

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