facebook
twitter
search
search

Panetta: 'Fiscal uncertainty' major threat

Jan. 11, 2013 at 11:57 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- With budget issues ahead on a divided Capitol Hill, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said one of the gravest threats to the nation was "fiscal uncertainty."

Panetta, who announced his retirement recently, said he was confident that the Defense Department had a defense strategy for the 21st century that ensures the military is the strongest in the world.

"We face, as you know, a number of adversaries around the world," he said following talks with visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai. "But the most immediate threat to our ability to achieve our mission is fiscal uncertainty, not knowing what our budget will be, not knowing if our budget will be drastically cut and not knowing whether the strategy that we've put in place can survive."

Congress in a New Year's Day vote postponed a series of automatic budget cuts known as sequestration until the end of March. The deal delayed more than $54 billion in military spending reductions.

Panetta said lawmakers avoided the worst possible outcome, though a cloud hangs over defense spending cuts.

If budget matters are left unresolved by March 1, he said, U.S. lawmakers will have seriously harmed the nation's military readiness.

"We have no idea what the hell's going to happen," he said.

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
Joel Osteen heckled, 6 arrested during service at Houston megachurch
Ghost hunters discover woman's body at abandoned Mississippi hospital
Walmart sorry for making Islamic State cake after rejecting Confederate flag cake
Cuomo on escaped inmates: Plan was to kill prison worker's husband
NBCUniversal cuts ties with Donald Trump over immigration comments