Ex-Secretary of Defense Gates Warns Against Budget Cuts During Sarasota Talk

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates spoke at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on Tuesday as part of the Ringling College Library Association Town Hall Lecture Series.

Forced budget cuts would harm national security and "hollow out the military," former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warned Tuesday during an appearance in Sarasota, according to WTSP 10 News.

Gates, speaking at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, said sequestration, or a series of automatic budget cuts set to take effect next month, "would be the height of irresponsibility on the part of Congress," WTSP reports.

Gates appeared before a sold-out crowd as part of the Ringling College Library Association Town Hall Lecture Series.

He said military leaders need more flexibility to make their own budget decisions, as YourObserver.com reports:

“…It’s the dumbest of all possible cuts because it’s across the board. No accounts are exempted except for personal, so there is no flexibility in terms of making decisions on priorities or anything else.”

Gates said Congress should consider closing some military bases to trim the budget, but that congressional leaders have made it clear to him that "it was not going to happen."

Did you attend Gates' appearance in Sarasota? What did you think? Post a comment below and join the conversation.

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