U.S. Weighing Additional Nuke Cuts: Panetta

(Nov. 7) -U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, shown last month, on Friday said the Defense Department is considering possible additional nuclear arsenal cuts aimed at trimming Pentagon spending over the next decade (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara).
(Nov. 7) -U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, shown last month, on Friday said the Defense Department is considering possible additional nuclear arsenal cuts aimed at trimming Pentagon spending over the next decade (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara).

U.S. Defense Department planners were examining potential further reductions to the nation's nuclear forces as part of an effort to eliminate $450 billion in Pentagon spending projected over the next decade, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told the New York Times on Friday (see GSN, Oct. 28).

The effort sought to calculate the number of warheads necessary for the United States to dissuade strikes by antagonists, Panetta said (see GSN, Oct. 12).

In August the White House and Congress struck a deal to raise the federal debt ceiling into 2013, preventing the government from defaulting on its obligations. The agreement calls for $350 billion in defense spending cuts over 10 years as part of a broader savings package, according to a previous report.

U.S. armed forces must retain “the ability to deter and defeat” Iran and North Korea, the Pentagon chief said, describing both countries as lingering dangers. He added, though, that he did not anticipate keeping a land-based military capability of sufficient size to carry out a protracted, violent conflict and subsequent occupation in either nation (Shanker/Bumiller, New York Times, Nov. 6).

November 7, 2011
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U.S. Defense Department planners were examining potential further reductions to the nation's nuclear forces as part of an effort to eliminate $450 billion in Pentagon spending projected over the next decade, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told the New York Times on Friday (see GSN, Oct. 28).