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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