Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says he misspoke when he said recently that another $500 billion in defense budget cuts next year would mean the US would no longer be a global power.
Republicans in Congress have cited Dempsey's comment as evidence of a weak Obama administration commitment to defense.
Dempsey told reporters traveling with him in Brazil on Wednesday that he should have stated his view differently.
He said the point he wanted to make originally is that the US military would have less capacity to operate worldwide, and that means the military would be able to provide civilian leaders fewer options for dealing with national security problems.
But, he said, the US would still be a global power