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“It’s very, very difficult to explain how the geostrategic situation in the United States, when you look 20 to 30 years down the road, how that has changed so dramatically after three years that all of a sudden all these cuts become magically OK,” he said.

Since the 2010 review, Congress passed the deficit-reduction mandates that then prompted Mr. Panetta to produce a new strategy calling for a smaller force.