Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III said his service in the next budget year would have to cut flying hours by 15 percent, personnel by 25,000, or 4 percent, and aircraft by 550, or 9 percent.
Top civilian and uniformed defense officials tried for months to stop the cuts and have warned repeatedly of severe and unacceptable effects on the U.S. military if Congress doesn’t end them.
Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said lawmakers were to blame.
“You all have extremely hard jobs, and I am afraid that we in Congress have not made them any easier by allowing sequestration to take effect,” Smith told the chiefs in a statement prepared for the hearing.
“Without a doubt, the Department of Defense must become more efficient,” Smith said. “But sequestration will continue to force the department to make unacceptable cuts.”