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Defense Budget Imposes ‘Acceptable Risks,’ DOD Leaders Say

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  • February 14, 2012
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Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told lawmakers Tuesday that the Pentagon’s long-term spending plan, which incorporates $487 billion in spending cuts through 2021, would impose some risks to national security, but he said they were acceptable.

“When you shave the budget by a half a trillion dollars, it leaves very little margin for error. And that, I think, is the biggest risk of all,” Panetta told the Senate Armed Services Committee, reported CQ Today.

Several senators, including John McCain (R-Ariz.), the committee’s ranking member, and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) questioned whether the department would have proposed the spending cuts in the absence of funding constraints.

Panetta also warned the panel against tweaking the department’s fiscal 2013 budget request.

“Each decision needs to be judged on the basis of the overall strategy that it supports, recognizing that unwinding any one piece puts our whole package in jeopardy,” he said.

Panetta, who was accompanied by Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, said the projected savings comes in three areas — efficiencies, changes in force structure and weapons procurement, and compensation, reported American Forces Press Service.

Read Panetta’s written testimony on the DOD website.

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