Panetta Warns against ‘Hasty’ Cuts to Defense

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Defense Secretary Leon Panetta

Defense spending can be reduced responsibly, but any “hasty” cuts that imperil national security should be avoided, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Wednesday.

Reuters reports the Pentagon is working to reduce $350 billion in spending as part of a debt reduction deal. However, a potential second round of cuts estimated at about $600 billion is possible if Congress misses an end-of-the-year deadline to approve further cuts to be identified by a bipartisan budget panel.

The AP reports Panetta expressed his position in a message sent to both troops and civilian Pentagon employees. Panetta said the $350 billion in cuts are in line with what the Pentagon anticipated. However, he warned against the potential second round of cuts and promised any proposed cuts would be looked at carefully.

“I will do everything I can to ensure that further reductions in defense spending are not pursued in a hasty, ill-conceived way that would undermine the military’s ability to protect America and its vital interests around the globe,” Panetta said.

Click here to read Panetta’s full message.

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