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U.S. commander warns budget cuts could harm shift to Asia


08:38, March 06, 2013

WASHINGTON, March 5 (Xinhua) -- Budget uncertainties could ultimately undermine the U.S. strategy of rebalancing to the Asia- Pacific region, Samuel Locklear, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, told Congress Tuesday.

Locklear told the House Armed Services Committee that unpredictability in the budget process has limited the U.S. flexibility to manage, and have the potential to undermine its strategic rebalance momentum, as its ability to operate and maintain its force is at "increased risk."

Locklear said budget cuts could impact the services' readiness accounts, reducing the availability of ready aircraft, ships and carriers and other assets vital to the command's reach across its area of responsibility.

He detailed the impacted mission areas are the command's ability to provide credible deterrence, assurance to seven treaty allies in the region, and support for the ongoing efforts to ensure the security environment remains stable.

Sequestration could also trigger cuts in the command's exercise program, he added.

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