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Panetta Hints that Pentagon Could Accommodate Further Cuts

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  • November 6, 2011
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In a recent interview, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta suggested the department could handle spending cuts beyond the $450 billion already looming if it would clinch a larger deal in Congress to reduce the deficit.

As part of a broader compromise, DOD officials could identify additional savings, he told the Washington Post. “That’s the way business is done in this town. I understand it, and everybody understands it,” he said.

Since August’s agreement to raise the nation’s debt ceiling was reached, Panetta has been resolute in warning lawmakers about the unthinkable prospect of the deeper defense cuts — up to $1 trillion cumulatively over the next 10 years — that would be triggered if Congress fails to enact $1.2 trillion in government-wide savings before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) sent Panetta a letter Friday asking him to spell out the range of options DOD would be forced to take if automatic spending cuts of up to $600 billion were to kick in.

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