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Dempsey urges patience on defense cuts

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- U.S. service members need to be patient instead being nervous about proposed defense budget cuts while the process moves along, Gen. Martin Dempsey said.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaking aboard a military aircraft while returning from Britain, said the Defense Department is pledged to $450 billion in cuts during the next 10 years, adding the fiscal 2013 defense budget to be submitted in February would answer many of the questions of the U.S. troops, the department Web site reported.

"It shouldn't be lost on anybody that we were handed this bill -- this reduction -- about two months ago," the chairman said. "What we've been doing is revising our strategy because you can't just take cuts and do the same things we've been doing.

"I know there's a lot of anxiety in the force. I'm anxious. But we've got to follow the existing process."

Dempsey said even if the defense department gets all its asks for, the military would still have to examine its strategy, consider threats, make changes and eliminate funding for capabilities no longer needed.

Based on lessons learned from 10 years of war and looking at what type of military will be needed in 2020, Dempsey said counter-terrorism will be a big portion of the budget. Cyber safety issues also would need to be addressed.

"One thing I will assure you of is no one is going to write off the possibility of any particular form of conflict," the chairman said.

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