The Washington Times - February 14, 2013, 03:33PM

If across the board spending cuts known as the sequester go into effect on March 1, their impact would “seriously impair” State Department efforts to “enhance the security of U.S. government facilities overseas and ensure the safety of thousands of U.S. diplomats,” Secretary of State John F. Kerry wrote to Congress this week.

In a Feb. 11 letter to Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski — a copy of which was released to the press on Thursday — Mr. Kerry warned that the sequester cuts “would force the [State] Department and USAID to make across-the-board reductions of $2.6 billion to fiscal year 2013 funding levels.”

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The letter was written in response to a request from Mrs. Mikulski, Maryland Democrat and the chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, who had sought an accounting of how the sequester cuts would impact the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development.

“Cuts of this magnitude would seriously impair our ability to execute our vital missions of national security, diplomacy, and development,” Mr. Kerry wrote in his response letter, which offers a laundry list of programs, from peacekeeping operations to counterterrorism initiatives that would be severely hit by the cuts.