Pentagon leaders say proposed budget cuts could severely harm the military -- and they are not crying wolf.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said if Congress doesn't stop $500 billion in automatic cuts over the next 10 years, he will be forced to shut down three Navy aircraft carriers and shrink the Army and Marine Corps.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno even suggested the cuts could prove deadly to those serving in the Armed Forces.
"What keeps me up at night is if I'm asked to deploy 20,000 soldiers somewhere, I'm not sure I can guarantee you that they're trained to the level that I think they should be over the next two or three years because of the way sequestration is being enacted," Odierno said in remarks Monday at the American Enterprise Institute.
"We'll still send soldiers ... but they will not have been able to train collectively the way we would like," he continued. "That means operations would take longer but, most importantly, it probably equals more casualties."
Some lawmakers say deeper Pentagon reductions could be the jolt that prompts lawmakers to step back from the automatic cuts.