Panetta spells out US budget cut doomsday fears

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta spelled out a doomsday scenario on Monday that he said could occur if Congress fails to take action to avoid a $1 trillion cut in US defense spending over the next decade.
Panetta, responding to a letter from Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham, said cuts of nearly $100 billion a year would leave the United States with its smallest ground force since 1940, the smallest number of ships since 1915 and the smallest air force in its history.
"The impacts of these cuts would be devastating for the department," Panetta wrote on Monday in his letter, which was released by the senators.
Independent analysts say Pentagon spending has increased substantially over the past decade and $1 trillion in cuts over the next decade would not be out of line with similar post-war drawdowns.
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