WASHINGTON (AP) – Defense Secretary Leon Panetta pleaded with Congress last Wednesday to avoid the disaster of automatic defense cuts even as he criticized lawmakers’ affection for protecting aging ships and aircraft.
Ramping up the pressure, Panetta and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, painted a bleak picture of the military and its power if the across-the-board reductions, known as “sequestration,” go into effect beginning Jan. 2.
The Pentagon would face cuts of about $500 billion in projected spending over 10 years on top of the $492 billion that President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans already agreed to in last summer’s deficit-cutting budget.
Dempsey said the cuts would mean fewer troops, the possible cancellation of major weapons and the disruption of operations around the world.
Francis Rose is the host of In Depth, which airs weekdays from 8-10 a.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, D.C. metro area and online everywhere. Francis has covered all three branches of the federal government as a broadcast journalist since 1998. He joined Federal News Radio in 2006, and launched In Depth in 2008 as a daily show focused on connecting federal executives to the information they need to do their jobs better.