Washington: US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has warned that scheduled congressional cuts to the defence budget in January would be overall “disastrous” for America.
Panetta said the Pentagon “has to play a role in trying to be able to achieve fiscal responsibility,” but warned against allowing the cuts, which would take place as a result of the failure to reach a deficit reduction deal last year.
“I think what both Republicans and Democrats need to do, and the leaders on both sides is to recognize that if sequester takes place, it would be disastrous for our national defense and very frankly for a lot of very important domestic programs,” Panetta told ABC News.
“They have a responsibility to come together, find the money necessary to de-trigger sequester. That’s what they ought to be working on now,” he added.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Panetta also responded to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s criticism of the Obama administration’s handling of the drawdown in Afghanistan.
Romney had earlier said that it was “naïve” and “misguided” to announce withdrawal plans publicly.
Panetta, however, dismissed Romney’s criticism as “campaign rhetoric.”