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Report: Panetta Expects Weapons Programs to Face Cuts

Photo: Air Force Master Sgt. Ken Hammond

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told lawmakers during a classified briefing he expects around half of the $450 billion in cuts to defense spending over the next 10 years to come from weapons programs, according to a report from Reuters.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) told reporters Panetta expressed his concerns over possibly cutting $600 million more if the deficit reduction supercommittee cannot reach an agreement before Thanksgiving.

Panetta did not provide further detail on where the $450 billion in cuts would come from and said he has not finalized any decisions, McKeon added.

The other half of cuts would come from efficiencies, a reduction in troop numbers and personnel costs such as healthcare, McKeon said.

Last week during a trip to South Korea, Panetta said the Pentagon will send its five-year budget to Congress in February, which includes $250 million in cuts.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns also briefed lawmakers, according to a report from National Journal.

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