The Pentagon says U.S. assets in the Persian Gulf remain ready to confront any threat, but those assets will not include a second aircraft carrier... for now.
FOX News Radio's Lisa Brady reports in our ongoing series on national security:
Like a shot over the Congressional bow as the sequester battle is joined, Defense Chief Leon Panetta has delayed deployment of an aircraft carrier and a guided missile cruiser to the Persian Gulf. A spokesman citing budget uncertainty, just hours after Panetta warned Congress again in a Georgetown University speech not to let automatic cuts take effect March 1st.
(Sec. Panetta) "My greatest concern today is that we are putting our national security at risk by lurching from budget crisis to budget crisis."
Panetta's doomsday planning for sequester includes unpaid leave for up to 800,000 civilian workers and cutting training and support outside war zones, but the deployment delay in the Middle East is a done deal.
Lisa Brady, FOX News Radio.