RICHMOND (AP) -- Gov. Bob McDonnell is urging immediate action to prevent looming cuts in federal defense spending.

McDonnell made the appeal in a letter sent Monday to President Barack Obama and Virginia's congressional delegation.

He calls the cuts a 'blunt and unnecessary instrument' that could devastate national security and force Virginia and other states into a recession.

McDonnell says Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads are at the greatest risk if the cuts are implemented.

He says it's critical to avoid what he calls an ill-conceived policy.

McDonnell says the threat of cuts from the 2011 Budget Control Act is already harming Virginia. But unless Obama and Congress agree on their own cuts before March 1, cuts known as the sequester would drain $85 billion from the government's budget over the coming seven months.

Virginia would feel the proportionately heaviest burden of any state. It has a heavy concentration of military assets, including the Pentagon and the world's largest U.S. Navy base at Norfolk, as well as defense and civilian government contractors.

AP-WF-02-18-13 1751GMT

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