- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
- U.N. warns of Muslim ‘cleansing’ in Central African Republic
Panetta orders Pentagon to plan for budget cuts
The 2011 Budget Control Act calls for automatic cuts of $500 billion over the next decade to the defense budget if Congress cannot agree on how to reduce the $1.2 trillion deficit. The so-called “fiscal cliff” deal lawmakers reached last week delayed the cuts, known as sequestration, until March 1.
Mr. Panetta said he has directed the Joint Chiefs to immediately take prudent measures including curtailing facility maintenance, freezing civilian hiring, and delaying certain contract awards, among other actions.
He also directed the chiefs to plan for possible civilian furloughs, but stressed that the planning is “strictly precautionary” in case sequestration is not averted. Under sequestration, the Pentagon would be forced to trim $42 billion from its budget for the last seven months of this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.
“We really have no choice but to prepare for the worse,” the defense secretary said.
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, attended the briefing with Mr. Panetta. “Sequestration is a self-inflicted wound on national security,” the general said.
If sequestration occurs, “we will be unable to reset the force after a decade of war,” Gen. Dempsey said. “We have no choice but to steel ourselves from the consequences.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Kristina Wong is a national security reporter for The Washington Times, covering defense, foreign policy and intelligence affairs. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Despite Pentagon cuts and eye on Pacific, Air Force implored to save the 'Warthog'
- Pentagon welcomes budget deal but says more defense spending needed
- Rep. Hunter to Pentagon: Don't lower combat standards for women
- Scientists raise alarm over plan to destroy Syria's chemical weapons at sea
- Hagel renews Qatar defense pact despite differences over Iran, Syria
TWT Video Picks
By Tammy Bruce
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- BRUCE: Obama's bizarre immigration rules
- IRS to turn over Lerner emails in tea party targeting probe
- DELAY: A revolution for the Constitution
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Unemployment insurance vote could happen next week
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- High schooler suing parents for money shot down by judge
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again