“I have confidence in the president and the Congress that decisions, consensus will be reached to at some point to avert tremendous damage to this institution. This is the security of America we’re talking about … adjustments are being made … to assure the capabilities and readiness of our forces.”

That said, he also laid out steps that are already being taken as a result of sequestration.

Hagel said the Navy will gradually stand down four air wings, 80 jets and helicopters, beginning in April.

Starting immediately the Air Force will reduce flying hours, having an impact on training and readiness.

The Army will curtail training for all units except for those deploying to Afghanistan, affecting about 80 percent of all Army operational units.