Panetta Aims to Cut Billions from Pentagon Budget

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Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is expected to announce plans this week to cut hundreds of billions of dollars from the Pentagon's budget. The cuts, precipitated by both the United States' fiscal situation and a deal passed to raise the debt ceiling last summer, will shrink the military so it will no longer be able to sustain two ground wars at once. The Pentagon will trim about $450 billion, or about 8 percent of its budget. However, it may be forced to cut an additional $500 billion if lawmakers on Capitol Hill go through with deeper reductions. Defense hawks say cutting $1 trillion from the Pentagon's budget would have a deleterious impact on national security.

Elisabeth Bumiller, Pentagon correspondent for The New York Times, reported on the story in today's paper. Col. Paul Hughes, a retired U.S. Army officer and chief of staff for the United States Institute of Peace, gives a military perspective on the cuts.