Automatic Cuts Would Undermine New Strategy, Panetta Says
Imposition of automatic spending cuts of up to $500 billion, bringing the total reduction over the next 10 years to $1 trillion, would force the Pentagon to abandon its newly developed guidance for coping with the initial $487 billion spending decline, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Sunday.
“If we had to do over a trillion dollars in cuts in this department, I have to tell you that the strategy that we developed, we’d probably have to throw that out the window and start over,” he told NPR’s Weekend Edition.
Panetta’s response was meant to further explain his initial statement that DOD does not have a plan to implement the automatic spending cuts resulting from the congressional supercommittee’s failure last fall to agree on a deficit reduction plan.
The defense chief also said the move to a smaller force structure means DOD increasingly would rely on the National Guard and reserve units if the military needed to mobilize quickly.
“If we are dealing with a leaner and meaner force, if we have to mobilize, there’s only one place to go — and that’s to the National Guard and to our Reserve units,” he said.