WASHINGTON -- The nation's top military leaders are warning Congress in unusually stark terms that its failure to pass a 2013 defense budget - coupled with the threat of automatic budget cuts - has pushed the Pentagon to the brink of a crisis.
They wrote in a joint letter to congressional leaders that the readiness of U.S. armed forces is at a "tipping point."
A copy of the letter was provided to The Associated Press Wednesday.
The military leaders said that troops in combat and those who are being treated for wounds will get the funds needed. But the rest of the force will be severely compromised if the Pentagon has to continue operating on last year's budget.
Among those signing the letter was Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs.