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Pentagon’s Budget-Cutting Exercise under Way, Panetta Says

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  • September 21, 2011
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The Defense Department’s effort to slash several hundred billion dollars from of its spending plans is ongoing and no decisions on cuts have been made to date, Secretary Leon Panetta said at a Pentagon news briefing Tuesday.

“I am committed to making these decisions based on the best advice that I receive from the service secretaries and from the service chiefs as well as the combatant commanders,” he said.

Panetta stressed that the strategy-driven review “is not going to be an easy process.” While some cuts will come at the expense of overhead and duplication, others “will force the nation to take on greater risk.” Still, the department intends to use the exercise “as an opportunity to shape the very best defense we can for this country as we approach the next 10 years.”

In looking for the $450 billion in savings called for under August’s deal to raise the nation’s debt limit, the secretary said he would be guided by four principles. The nation must:

  • maintain the world’s best military;
  • avoid a hollow force, sustaining a military that, even if smaller, is ready, agile and deployable;
  • take a balanced approach in searching for savings, covering overhead, management, acquisition, personnel costs and force structure; and
  • keep faith with the men and women in uniform.

Editor’s Note: DOD measures the cuts required under the initial round of the debt ceiling deal against its fiscal 2012 budget request, resulting in the need to find $450 billion in spending reductions over the next 10 years. The White House and Congress, however, measure the needed cuts against the Congressional Budget Office’s baseline, which results in a $350 billion reduction. The two descriptions are roughly equivalent, however, as the CBO baseline is about $100 billion lower than the FY 2012 budget plan.

Read the American Forces Press Service story.

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