Pentagon recommends delay for $46 billion in budget cuts

Military and civil leaders with the Pentagon issued warnings on Tuesday that $46 billion in budget cuts due to go into effect in two weeks could corrode the nation's ability to go to war.

The automatic, across-the-board cuts would reduce training, cut ship and aircraft maintenance, put most of the Pentagon's 800,000 civilian employees on unpaid leave for 22 days, and cut the spending on developing weapons and other defense systems, Reuters reports.

"I will tell you personally, if ever the force is so degraded and so unready and then we're asked to use it, it would be immoral to use the force unless it's well-trained, well-led and well-equipped," General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, according to Reuters.

In August 2011, Congress enacted the cuts as law and the lawmakers assumed that the cuts would be so abhorrent, Republicans and Democrats would come up with an alternative way to cut the budget. No plan has yet emerged.

Not all officials are painting a doomsday scenario. Mattea Kramer, the research director for the Massachusetts-based National Priorities Project, said that some good might come of the cuts.

"We are not of the opinion that American security will be deeply compromised here," Kramer said, according to Reuters. "I do think that it's true that sequestration is a bad instrument for going about cutting budgets and that DOD officials absolutely will be pulling out their hair. There is waste, there are obsolete programs to be sunset, there is Cold War technology that we need not be investing in any longer."

The budget cuts will go into effect on March 1 if Congress does not come up with an alternate plan, Reuters reports.