Panetta Warns Further Cuts Would Be 'Damaging'

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  1. Manmohan Yadav
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    Manmohan Yadav Brigadier STAR MEMBER

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    U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Nov. 30 continued to warn about the negative effect $1 trillion in defense spending cuts over the next decade would have on the military should Congress not find alternate ways to reduce the national debt.

    The inability of the lawmakers to reach a deficit reduction deal last week is "a failure that can result in damaging this country," Panetta said during a speech at a tribute event hosted by the Stimson Center in Washington.

    Despite the laid-back, jovial atmosphere at the event - which included tributes from former President Bill Clinton, former Defense Secretary William Perry, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and actor and director Clint Eastwood - Panetta stuck a serious tone during the latter part of his address, calling on lawmakers to "take risks" and "make sacrifices" in attempts to reduce the U.S. debt.

    Last week, a bipartisan supercommittee announced it could not agree on a plan to cut $1.2 trillion in federal spending by its Nov. 23 deadline.

    This triggered sequestration, which mandates spending cuts across the government. DoD's share of the cuts is about $600 billion over 10 years. When coupled with already planned defense spending cuts over the next decade, DoD's is facing a $1 trillion reduction to planned spending.

    These cuts do not go into effect until January 2013, meaning Congress has more than a year write new legislation modifying or eliminating these cuts.

    Panetta has argued that the $1 trillion in defense spending cuts would hallow the military. At the event, Panetta called sequestration a "meat ax approach" of cutting the defense budget.
     

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