Tags: panetta | budget | deficit | lockheed | f-35 | fighter | pentagon

Panetta: Cuts May Scuttle Lockheed F-35 Program

Monday, 14 Nov 2011 05:56 PM

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham that defense budget cuts of as much as $1 trillion may lead to the termination of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 jet.

In a letter Monday to the two Republican lawmakers, Panetta said reductions beyond the $450 billion, 10-year defense budget cuts already planned would reduce the “size of the military sharply.”

If a special committee of lawmakers fails to reach agreement on U.S. deficit reduction, that would trigger a so-called sequestration. That would involve at least another $500 billion in defense cuts over a decade and reduce Pentagon programs in 2013 by 23 percent if the president exercises his authority to exempt military personnel, Panetta said.

Panetta said such funding reductions might lead to termination of major programs such as Lockheed’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, major space initiatives, silo-based U.S. nuclear missiles, and ground combat vehicle modernization.

Such cuts also would damage shipbuilding and construction projects, Panetta wrote.

“You cannot buy three quarters of a ship or a building,” he wrote the lawmakers urging them to ensure that Congress finds deficit reduction through other means.

A congressional supercommittee, seeking at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions, has until Nov. 23 to get an agreement. If Congress fails to approve the panel’s plan, federal spending would be cut automatically, including about $500 billion from the Defense Department, not including interest.

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U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham that defense budget cuts of as much as $1 trillion may lead to the termination of Lockheed Martin Corp. s F-35 jet.In a letter Monday to the two Republican lawmakers, Panetta said reductions...
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Monday, 14 Nov 2011 05:56 PM
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