SAN DIEGO - Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Christine Fox had a word of caution for military and defense insiders: "This is a time of transition and uncertainty."
Fox kicked off a three-day conference at the Convention Center, saying to both active-duty military and defense contractors in a keynote address, "It's very hard to plan and not knowing where we're headed in 2016, and I think we could drop down to levels that are very alarming to me."
The cuts mandated under sequester are expected to take affect again in 2016 with the Army and Marines losing the most in terms of personnel. By 2018, the armed forces are expected to be reduced by more than 1.3 million.
While exact budget cuts and personnel loss for 2016 are still unknown, there is a bright spot for San Diego.
"San Diego will remain very central and very important to anything we do in the future," Fox said.
The three-day gathering will also feature appearances by Gen. James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps; Adm. Mark Ferguson, Vice Chief of Naval Operations and Adm. Robert Papp, Commandant of the Coast Guard.