Panetta: Fiscal Cliff Prevents Future Planning

DoD photo: Glenn Fawcett

DoD photo: Glenn Fawcett

Budget uncertainty surrounding the fiscal cliff keeps the Defense Department from being able to plan the country’s future defense strategy, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Tuesday.

According to CBS News, Panetta told a National Press Club audience the department has had to deal with the headwinds of sequestration, which he called a mechanism to force Congress into creating a deficit reduction plan.

A joint congressional supercommittee failed to come up with a $1.2 trillion package last year, putting the sequester into effect Jan. 2 unless the White House and Republican lawmakers can reach a deal before year’s end.

Cuts under the sequester, totaling $1.2 trillion, are spread out over 10 years and are split 50-50 between defense and nondefense spending.

According to the American Forces Press Service, Panetta said soldiers frequently ask him questions about sequestration during his visits to troops.

He said Congress’ failure to reach a consensus would weaken the country’s standing in the eyes of allies, partners and adversaries, Karen Parrish writes.

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