Panetta Says Debt Crisis Could Be “Devastating” To National Security

leon panetta

U.S. defence Secretary Leon Panetta urged Congress today to resolve the debt crisis, or risk triggering larger military budget cuts that could be “devastating effects” to national defence.

Panetta, in a joint appearance with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the National defence University this morning, said the Pentagon is ready to cut $350 million over 10 years — the amount agreed to in this month’s deficit compromise. But Panetta warned that further cuts could be a threat to national security.

If the supercommittee cannot agree on a deficit-reduction plan by year’s end or if Congress rejects its proposal, it would trigger some $500 billion in additional national security spending cuts.

Both Panetta and Clinton appealed to Congress to limit defence, diplomacy, and development cuts in order to preserve U.S. influence.