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Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warns sequestration will harm national security

6:56 PM, Feb 5, 2013   |    comments
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Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
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Sarasota, Florida -- The only Secretary of Defense to serve under two different Presidents offered a warning today, saying that sequestration or forced budget cuts across the board will be disastrous for the country's national security.

"If sequestration were to go through I think it would be the height of irresponsibility on the part of Congress," Robert Gates also told reporters in Sarasota on Tuesday.

See Also: Obama seeks budget plan to avoid sequester

Gates was in town as guest speaker for the Ringling College Library Association Town Hall Lecture Series. Before addressing a sold out crowd at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Gates answered reporters questions for about 20 minutes.

"This is a direct path to hollowing out the military," Gates added about sequestration. 

Instead, Gates says Congress should consider closing some military bases to save money.

"Absolutely, absolutely, we still have far more facilities then we need and as the budget goes down there has to be some greater consolidation."

Gates also said he feels in recent years America has been "ready to reach for a gun to solve a problem."

"We need to work with others, but I think we need to be very cautious about deploying American ground forces he added."

When asked about what makes a war worth fighting, Gates said when American interests are threatened.

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