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Panetta: Budget crisis can damage military

Aug. 7, 2012 at 3:51 PM
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MONTEREY, Calif., Aug. 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. budget must be brought under control, or the country's military capabilities will be severely damaged, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said.

Speaking at a conference Monday of the Association of Defense Communities, Panetta said potential cuts to defense spending would "hollow out the military," the Department of Defense said in a statement.

Military spending will be cut across the board by $500 billion over the next decade under a "sequestration" policy if Congress cannot pass a debt reduction plan.

Panetta said if sequestration becomes reality, "it'll be a disaster for national defense and it would be a disaster, frankly, for defense communities as well."

The department plans to deal with the budget crisis by becoming a "smaller, ... leaner and more agile force," he said

The military will refocus on its strategies in the Asia-Pacific region, the secretary said, and become vigilant against threats from cyberspace, he said. In addition, the department's strategies must include protecting and investing in its industrial base.

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