Cuts planned for defense could lead to training, maintenance delays, possible furloughs or layoffs

SAN DIEGO - The military in San Diego as well as those who support and supply them are in for drastic changes, according to the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was in San Diego on Tuesday.

"If there is a crisis in the future, we may not be able to respond," said Adm. James Winnefeld, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Winnefeld's remarks came during a keynote address for the Armed Forces Communication and Electronic Association and the U.S. Naval Institute at West 2013. The conference is being held at the San Diego Convention Center.

"I don't know of any other time in history that we have come down this fast and this far in the defense budget," Winnefeld said.

The problem for the military service chiefs is how far and how much or when. If Congress does not pass a budget but a continuing resolution, then budget levels will remain at 2012 levels.

Winnefeld said that if sequestration takes place in March, then training and maintenance for ships and aircraft will be delayed and all 800,000 Department of Defense employees could be affected with furloughs, layoffs or both.  

"Part of the challenge is that we cannot spread cuts in readiness like peanut butter," he said.

The one area that will see an increase in funding is cyber security. Winnefeld  said this is not about crying wolf,

As the wars wind down, every service will have to live with less.

The danger, according to Winnefeld, is, "we are at serious risk of falling into a hollow force."

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