First Posted: 9/11/2013
(AP) U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus says American ships in the Mediterranean Sea remain ready to strike Syria if ordered, but impending budget cuts will make that kind of operation far more difficult in the coming years.
Mabus says that fewer ships already are going to sea, fewer Navy pilots are flying and fewer Marines are training because of the automatic, across-the-board cuts that would slash more than $50 billion from the 2014 defense budget and $500 billion over 10 years.
If those reductions continue, he said the military options available in future crises like Syria may be "limited or unavailable."
President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he ordered the military to maintain its presence to keep pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad and to be ready to strike if needed.Associated Press