By Kristina Wong - 03/04/14 10:11 AM EST
A senior defense official said the president's pivot to Asia is being reconsidered under defense budget constraints, according to Defense News.
"Right now, the pivot is being looked at again, because candidly it can't happen," Katrina McFarland, assistant secretary of defense for acquisition, said at Aviation Week's Defense Technologies and Requirements conference on Tuesday.
The remarks come the same morning as the Pentagon is due to unveil its 2015 defense budget request, which is expected to prioritize the pivot to Asia.
The Obama administration first rolled out the strategy in 2011, but since then, attention has been disrupted by continuing crises in the Middle East.
Adm. Jonathan Greenert has said the pivot, which would shift 60 percent of ships to the Asia Pacific, would be slowed by shrinking defense budgets, but McFarland's comments are the first time a defense official has said it is being reconsidered.
UPDATE: McFarland later rescinded her remarks in a statement provided to reporters: "I was reiterating what Secretary Hagel said last week: that the shift in focus to the Asia-Pacific requires us to 'adapt, innovate, and make difficult [budgetary and acquisition]' decisions to ensure that our military remains ready and capable."
"That's exactly what we've done in this budget," she said, referring to the 2015 defense budget request released Tuesday. "The rebalance can and will continue."