Panetta Warns Over $600bn Defense Cuts

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US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday warned lawmakers not to implement a “doomsday mechanism” that will see the Pentagon budget slashed by an additional $600bn, saying that these cuts could severely threaten US national security. The new cuts of $600bn will only kick in if a bipartisan congressional board fails to secure a deal on budget savings worth $1.2tn for the next decade. But even if the likelihood of these cuts has prompted senior officials to express their concerns this week, Panetta made it clear that the cuts would be totally unacceptable to him and President Obama.