Pentagon Solutions: Panetta warns of 'disaster' from defense cuts

Wednesday - 6/20/2012, 4:55pm EDT

DONNA CASSATA
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta pleaded with Congress last Wednesday to avoid the disaster of automatic defense cuts even as he criticized lawmakers' affection for protecting aging ships and aircraft.

Ramping up the pressure, Panetta and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, painted a bleak picture of the military and its power if the across-the-board reductions, known as "sequestration," go into effect beginning Jan. 2.

The Pentagon would face cuts of about $500 billion in projected spending over 10 years on top of the $492 billion that President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans already agreed to in last summer's deficit-cutting budget.

Dempsey said the cuts would mean fewer troops, the possible cancellation of major weapons and the disruption of operations around the world.

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