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Senior defense officials urged lawmakers on Wednesday to accept Pentagon plans to cut troop levels and weapons systems to meet tight federal budgets, saying excessive tinkering could increase risk to the military and leave it poorly prepared for war. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told a Senate panel that budget caps requiring nearly a trillion dollars in Pentagon spending cuts over a decade made it impossible to keep the current military force “adequately ready and modernized,” telling an Appropriations Committee panel: “Readiness is our main concern, as it must be for anyone who cares about our national security and the men and women who defend it.”

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