Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Tuesday sharply criticized Congress for imposing spending reductions on the Pentagon that he warned risk have serious impacts on U.S. military power.
Hagel, the highest-ranking Republican in President Barack Obama's Cabinet, said his department has absorbed $500 million in forced cuts under the congressionally imposed sequester system, along with an additional $487 billion in reductions required by a 2011 deal to raise the federal debt ceiling.
"These cuts are too fast, too much, too abrupt and too irresponsible," Hagel said in an address to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Hagel also criticized lawmakers for the temporary funding measure it passed last month -- called a "continuing resolution" -- in order to end the partial government shutdown Republicans forced over Obama's signature health-insurance law.
"We are operating under a continuing resolution which continues to present DOD with one of its most difficult challenges -- uncertainty," Hagel said. "DOD cannot responsibly, efficiently and effectively plan, strategize and implement national security policies with this cloud of uncertainty continuing to hang over it."