Panetta Set to Slash Pentagon Budget

    U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta boards a C-17 plane as he leaves Tripoli, Libya, Saturday, Dec., 17, 2011. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Pool)

    Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo

    Defense Secretary Leon Panetta plans to unveil his shrunken budget for the Pentagon this week, part of a deal last summer to cut about $450 billion from military spending. One effect of the cuts: the U.S. will no longer fight two ground wars simultaneously. Instead, Panetta says, the military will be able to fight one major war and “spoil” a second opponent's ambitions in another part of the world. Every aspect of the military is potentially on the chopping block, including salaries, retirement, and health benefits. There’s a chance that Panetta will have to make $500 billion in additional cuts down the road if Congress pushes for steeper reductions, something he says would be disastrous.

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