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Panetta to Meet With Combatant Commanders on Budget-Cut Strategy

September 28, 2011

Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is scheduled tomorrow for the first time to solicit the views of U.S. combatant commanders on where the budget can be cut and U.S. missions scaled back, his spokesman said today.

“There will be a wide-ranging discussion on variety of options,” spokesman George Little said today. “That’s something the secretary looks forward to. He wants to have an open dialog with the commanders and other senior leaders to solicit their views.”

Commanders will be briefed on the ideas being discussed in the Pentagon’s internal review of U.S. strategies, roles and missions, he said. Panetta said the meeting would be a “conversation” and would not be handing out budget targets, according to Little.

The Pentagon has been told by the White House to reduce its spending plans by about $450 billion over 10 years, under the U.S. Budget Control Act passed by Congress. Another $500 billion in automatic cuts may be imposed if a supercommittee of lawmakers fails to find $1.5 trillion in overall federal savings, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen told a business group last week the cumulative cuts might be as high as $1.1 trillion.

The $1.1 trillion in cuts, depending on the baseline used, represents between 15 and 18 percent of an estimated $6.14 trillion 10-year spending projection, according to Pentagon officials, budget analysts and a review of Office of Management and Budget figures.

--Editors: Steven Komarow, Terry Atlas

To contact the reporter on this story: Tony Capaccio in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at -0- Sep/28/2011 17:36 GMT

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