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One of the top Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee said Wednesday he is “more optimistic” than ever that Congress will act, perhaps next year, to end the punishing budget cuts forced by sequestration that are hampering the military’s ability to respond to a chaotic global security environment. Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, told an American Enterprise Institute forum that opposition to sequestration has increased among both the American public and lawmakers. He said a colleague from Texas, who is not on a defense-related committee, told him that national defense was one of the top concerns he heard expressed in his recent town hall meetings. Forbes earlier had listed the impact of the funding reductions on defense, with the Air Force having the oldest and smallest air fleet in its history and in great need of modernization, the Navy lacking the ships needed for the rebalance to Asia-Pacific, and the Army endstrength dropping to dangerous levels. “I see the pendulum moving back” to support for repealing sequestration, at least for defense, he said. But, Forbes added, “We have to have the leadership​” from the White House to help convince the public.