Reeling under the prospect of $850 billion budgetary cuts over the next 10 years, the Pentagon has warned that any additional budgetary cut would make it difficult to manage national security.
"I hope there are not any further cuts. We remain in a dangerous world. Large additional cuts, beyond what we already have, would be a problem for us to manage our national security," a senior department of defense official said.
"We hope they do not have large additional cuts now," the official said.
The budgetary cuts already being declared by the Administration and the Congress is making it tough for the department of defense, he said.
"We think that is hard to do, but manageable," the official said.
"Now our job is to figure out how to do it," he said.
Earlier, the defense secretary, Leon Panetta, in a message to his troops said the budget cuts could cripple the fighting force and he vowed to work closely with the Congress to avoid that outcome.
"The United States faces a series of tough choices ahead on the budget as we seek to balance the need for fiscal solvency with the need to protect our security," he said.
Panetta said the reductions in defense spending that will take place as a result of the debt ceiling agreement reached by Congress and the President are in line with what this Department’s civilian and military leaders were anticipating.
"I believe we can implement these reductions while maintaining the excellence of our military. But to do that, spending choices must be based on sound strategy and policy," he said.
In the past, such as after the Vietnam War, the US government applied cuts to defense across the board, resulting in a force that was undersised and underfunded relative to its missions and responsibilities, he said.
"This process has historically led to outcomes that weaken rather than strengthen our national security – and which ultimately cost our nation more," Panetta said.
"I am determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past, he added.
In order to make the key decisions on how to best implement spending reductions, the President had said in April when he unveiled his fiscal framework that "we are going to conduct a fundamental review of America’s missions, capabilities, and our role in a changing the world," Panetta said.
"As a Department, we are following that approach," he added.
Achieving savings based on sound national security policy will serve US interests and will also prove more enforceable and sustainable over the long-term, he said.
"This potential deep cut in defense spending is not meant as policy. Rather, it is designed to be unpalatable to spur responsible, balanced deficit reduction and avoid misguided cuts to our security," Panetta said.