Former CENTCOM Leader to Head Dover Port Mortuary Panel

Army Gen. John P. Abizaid, commander, U.S. Central Command, on Aug. 21, 2003. DoD photo by R.D. Ward.

Retired Army Gen. John Abizaid will chair the panel overseeing the Dover port mortuary, according to Pentagon officials.

Abizaid is replacing former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona, who stepped down so he could run for Senate.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta asked Abizaid to step in. Abizaid has 34 years service in the Army and is the former commander of U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida.

The Dover port mortuary review panel is charged with evaluating the efficacy of changes already made to procedures at Dover and to make recommendations for  additional changes if  required. The panel was formed after civilian whistle-blowers complained about how the remains of some fallen warriors were mishandled.

Abizaid will follow the same timeline laid out Nov. 8 for the original panel to report back within 60 days. You can read more about the review panel HERE.

Panetta Warns Automatic Cuts Equal a Hollow Force

Leon E. Panetta testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee June 9, 2011. Photo courtesy of DoD Screen capture.

Last week, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned that automatic budget cuts, triggered by no action by the congressional super committee, would lead to what he calls a hollow force.

“It’s a ship without sailors. It’s a brigade without bullets. It’s an air wing without enough trained pilots,” Panetta said. “It’s a paper tiger.”

Tom Bowman with National Public Radio reports that the Pentagon already plans to cut about $500 billion from its budget over 10 years and now faces another $500 billion in cuts.

But Bowman points out that over the last decade since the 9-11 attacks, U.S. defense spending has increased about $20 billion a year and now accounts for nearly half of all defense spending worldwide.

But a defense analyst who worked in the Clinton administration told Bowman that defense spending could absorb $1 trillion in cuts.

“A build-down of a trillion dollars over the next 10 years would be a 17 percent reduction in the Defense Department’s plan,” Gordon Adams said.

You can read Bowman’s full story or listen to his radio report HERE.

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