US defence secretary says planned budget cuts are "crazy"
Mandated budget cuts that would deeply slash US military spending are "crazy" and need to be excised from current budget planning by lawmakers, warned US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Saturday, DPA reported.
"We are not planning on it happening. If it did, I would have to throw the plan I just made out the window and I think that would be dangerous for America and for the world," said Panetta.
He was speaking at the Munich Security Conference, during which he had just laid out his plans for slashing US defence spending by about 450 billion dollars over the next 10 years.
But the inability of US lawmakers to agree upon a series of government spending cuts last year triggered legislation that requires 1.2 trillion dollars of mandatory spending cuts over the next 10 years, about half of which would come from US security spending. The process is known as sequestration.
Security spending affects more than just the Pentagon. Nonetheless, those cuts would be above and beyond the cuts Panetta discussed Saturday. Those had only been announced last month by the administration.
"Sequestration is a crazy formula developed by Congress," said Panetta. "We are not paying attention to sequester. Sequester is crazy. We strongly urge the Congress to come forward and try to detrigger that amount.
"It would virtually devastate our national defence."