Panetta Outlines Defense Cuts He Says Will Hurt Military, Economy
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is laying out a grim list of spending cuts the Pentagon will have to make in the coming weeks that he says will seriously damage the country's economy and degrade the military's ability to respond to a crisis.
He is slamming members of Congress as irresponsible and willing to push the country off a fiscal cliff to damage their opposing political parties.
"My fear is that there is a dangerous and callous attitude that is developing among some Republicans and some Democrats, that these dangerous cuts can be allowed to take place in order to blame the other party for the consequences," Panetta said in a speech at Georgetown University. "This is a kind of 'so what?' attitude that says, 'Let's see how bad it can get in order to have the other party blink'."
According to CNN, Panetta is recommending limiting military pay, effectively decreasing troop salaries next year.
CNN says Panetta will recommend to Congress that military salaries be limited to a 1 percent increase in 2014.
He says if Congress doesn't pass a budget the Pentagon must absorb $46 billion in spending reductions in this fiscal year and will face a $35 billion shortfall in operating expenses.
In separate, highly detailed memos sent to Congress, the military services described widespread civilian furloughs, layoffs and hiring freezes that will hit workers all around the country.
Overall, the military will furlough 800,000 civilian workers for 22 days, spread across more than five months, and will lay off as many as 46,000 temporary and contract employees.
The Navy says it will cease deployments to South America and the Caribbean and limit those to Europe.
The Air Force warned that it would cut operations at various missile defense radar sites from 24 hours to eight hours.
And the Army said it would cancel training center rotations for four brigades and cancel repairs for thousands of vehicles, radios and weapons.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013, Watertown, NY
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