The Pentagon's second-ranking official is sounding alarm bells about an erosion of America's military technological edge and warning that a return to automatic budget cuts would be an "unmitigated disaster" for the Pentagon.
Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work made the assertions Tuesday in remarks prepared for delivery at a defense industry conference.
Work said the U.S. advantage in technological innovation is steadily eroding, even as the military modernization efforts of what he called "potential competitors" such as China and Russia are in "hyper-drive."
He is making a pitch for the Obama administration's proposal for a $534 billion 2016 defense budget that would exceed congressionally imposed caps by about $36 billion.
Work also called on Congress to authorize the Pentagon to conduct a new round of military base closings.