Defense Cuts Threaten ‘Readiness Crisis,’ Panetta Says

Automatic spending cuts due to take effect March 1 threaten “the most serious readiness crisis in over a decade,” U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said today.

Panetta urged Congress to embrace President Barack Obama’s call yesterday for a smaller package of cuts and tax-code changes to avert the across-the-board reductions known as sequestration that would reduce defense spending by $45 billion through September.

“My fear is that there is a dangerous and callous attitude developing among some Republicans and Democrats alike that these dangerous cuts can be allowed to take place in order to blame the other party for the consequences,” Panetta said in prepared remarks for an address at Georgetown University in Washington.

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