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Hagel to hear from Joint Chiefs on spending cuts

By Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Correspondent
March 1, 2013 -- Updated 1038 GMT (1838 HKT)
New Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will receive a briefing from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
New Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will receive a briefing from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • New defense secretary is to discuss the cuts on Friday
  • Defense programs would bear half of the $85 billion in cuts
  • They are to go into effect Friday night absent congressional action

(CNN) -- The Joint Chiefs of Staff plan to brief newly minted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on the impact that spending cuts -- slated to go into effect Friday night -- might have on military readiness.

Defense programs would bear half of the $85 billion in government-wide spending cuts that are to go into effect absent congressional action.

Hagel's first session with leaders of the service branches since his swearing-in is to occur Friday afternoon in "the tank," a secure Pentagon meeting room.

The Joint Chiefs will brief Hagel on what the planned cuts involve and how they might affect readiness, a senior Pentagon official said.

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Gen. James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, has said that more than half of Marine combat units could fall below acceptable levels of readiness to deploy by the beginning of next year if the cuts were to occur.

The Army is planning to cut stateside training, and Air Force and Navy pilots could see their flying hours reduced.

Hagel is boning up on plans to cut the budget even further and studying its potential impact on the military's readiness to respond to crises and continue deployments overseas.

He received initial briefings in the weeks before Tuesday, when the Senate confirmed him.

On Wednesday, his first day in office, the former Nebraska senator broke with tradition and walked into the offices of senior enlisted advisers for the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps to introduce himself and discuss readiness concerns, the official said.

Secretaries of defense, as the highest-ranking civilians, generally summon those they want to see to their suite of offices rather than walking the hallways themselves.

On Thursday afternoon, Hagel approved his first deployment orders, which included orders to deploy combat arms and combat support units to Afghanistan to replace existing units.

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