WASHINGTON, Feb 8 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Friday that deep across-the-board government spending cuts that will go into effect on March 1 unless Congress acts to prevent them could have a 'severe impact' on U.S. military preparedness.
'There is no reason, no reason for that to happen,' Obama said at a farewell ceremony for outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
'Putting our fiscal house in order calls for a balanced approach, not massive indiscriminate cuts that could have a severe impact on our military preparedness,' he said.
Obama also expressed confidence in his nominee to replace Panetta as Pentagon chief, former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, who had a rocky confirmation hearing last week with a full Senate vote yet to be scheduled.
'Keeping us prepared will be the mission of my nominee to be the next secretary of defense, a combat veteran with the experience, judgment and vision that our troops deserve, Chuck Hagel,' Obama said.
(Reporting By Mark Felsenthal and Matt Spetalnick; Editing by David Brunnstrom) Keywords: USA FISCAL/OBAMA MILITARY
(Mark.Felsenthal@thomsonreuters.com)(1 202 898 8329)
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