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“In fact, were defense budgets to decline by $465 billion from the current (Pentagon) projections, it would be the most moderate and shallow build down we have ever experienced since the end of the Korean War,” Mr. Adams wrote in a blog post.

“So there is little reason to fear, little reason to cry ‘doomsday’ as we manage this build down,” he added.

Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, told the House committee that steeper defense cuts would undermine the military’s ability to maintain a large presence in key parts of the world. He argued that if the U.S. military were compelled to pull back, other countries such as China would fill the void.

Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, the Air Force chief of staff, made a similar argument.

“If we want to be a global power, we’ve got to be out and about,” Gen. Schwartz said.