- The Washington Times - Monday, October 14, 2013

Remember sequester cuts? In all the brouhaha on Capitol Hill about the fate of Obamacare, the fate of the budget and continuing resolutions and the fate of government’s day-to-day operations, the fallout from mandated cost-cuts has fallen under the radar — but former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta raised the specter on Sunday.

America’s military “readiness has been badly damaged” by sequester cuts, he said, on “Meet the Press” on NBC.

While Navy SEALs and special forces are still prepared to take on critical missions, the military in general, and in “broader crises, such as the Middle East,” is facing dire straits.

“We are going to be impacting on our readiness and our ability to respond to a crisis in that part of the world,” he said, United Press International reported.

“I think our readiness has been badly damaged. We’ve got 12 combat squadrons that have been grounded. Half of the Air Force is not combat-ready. We’ve got ships that are not being deployed. We’ve got training rotations that have been canceled. We’ve got 800,000 federal employees that have been furloughed under sequester and that are now taking a hit on the shutdown,” he said.

And his conclusion: “All of this is impacting on our readiness and our ability to be able to handle a major crisis outside of Afghanistan,” he said, UPI reported.

SEE ALSO: For civilian workers at Pentagon, it pays to work for military

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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