Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says budget cuts may mean the United States will miss the chance to help reshape the Middle East.
Clinton made the claim at the National Defence University in Washington, D.C. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also spoke at the forum-style event.
Clinton addressed a wide range of international issues, including the wave of uprisings in the Middle East.
"We have a an opportunity right now in the Middle East and North Africa that I'm not sure we're going to be able to meet," Clinton said. "Because we don't have the resources to invest in the new democracies in Egypt and Tunisia. To help the transition in Libya, to see what happens in Syria, and so much else."
Panetta said he believes Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi's days in power are numbered.