Doomsday Mechanism’ Would Devastate Budget, Panetta Says

MONTEREY, Calif., Aug. 23, 2011 — Cit­ing the myr­i­ad threats fac­ing the Unit­ed States, Defense Sec­re­tary Leon E. Panet­ta said today that one of the biggest chal­lenges to U.S. nation­al defense is the so-called “dooms­day mech­a­nism” that will trig­ger across-the-board bud­get cuts if Con­gress doesn’t make the deci­sions nec­es­sary to avert it.

Speak­ing to a stand­ing-room-only audi­ence at the Navy Post­grad­u­ate School’s King Hall here, Panet­ta told the stu­dents and fac­ul­ty the across-the-board reduc­tions could take anoth­er $500 bil­lion to $600 bil­lion from the defense bud­get.

“It will be dev­as­tat­ing to the defense bud­get, result­ing in a hol­lowed force, weak­ened U.S. defens­es and an inabil­i­ty to meet U.S. alliance oblig­a­tions,” he said. “It will break faith with troops and their fam­i­lies.”

More cov­er­age to fol­low.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)