Defense Secretary Robert Gates, right, accompanied by Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen (Associated Press Photo/Alex Brandon)
Defense Secretary Robert Gates cautioned Congress today against making deeper spending cuts than those already proposed. Joining the Secretary before the House Armed Services Committee, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, similarly warned lawmakers that, "Cuts can only go so far without hollowing the force.”
Other topics at this hearing included aid to Egypt, troop levels in Afghanistan and Iraq, and a sexual assault lawsuit against the Pentagon by 17 female veterans – among others.
The budget includes a few reductions, notably the discontinuation of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter second engine program and cuts in spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet many lawmakers, including House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA), have expressed concern that the budget is too small to adequately handle its operations, according to recent reports.