Panetta Challenges Lawmakers Over Opposition To Pentagon Cuts

leon panetta 76459 300x201 Panetta Challenges Lawmakers Over Opposition To Pentagon Cuts

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey will run a three-day gantlet in Congress starting Tuesday morning as they face Republican critics of President Obama’s new military strategy.

Panetta and Dempsey will testify on the president’s defense budget in back-to-back-to-back hearings, beginning with the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Obama’s budget request, released Monday, cuts absolute defense spending for the first time in a decade and slashes more than 100,000 troops. Those reductions are in line with the president’s strategy revamp, which drops a requirement that the military stand ready to fight two large-scale ground wars at once.

Panetta defended Obama’s proposed cuts in opening remarks on Tuesday and reminded lawmakers that the $487 billion reduction in Pentagon spending the president is implementing is their own handiwork.

“It was this Congress that mandated, on a bipartisan basis, that we reduce the Defense budget, and we need your partnership to do this in a manner that preserves the strongest military in the world,” Panetta said in prepared testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee. “This will be a test of whether reducing the deficit is about talk or action.”

Read More at The Hill. By Jeremy Herb

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