Panetta plays troop card to press DC on budget deal

Fresh off his eighth visit to Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said he is frustrated that wherever he goes, U.S. troops are asking him nervous questions about defense spending cuts looming over their heads because of Washington’s inability to make a budget deal.   “Whenever I visit our troops, they make clear their concern about ...

DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo
DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo
DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

Fresh off his eighth visit to Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said he is frustrated that wherever he goes, U.S. troops are asking him nervous questions about defense spending cuts looming over their heads because of Washington’s inability to make a budget deal.
 
“Whenever I visit our troops, they make clear their concern about what those cuts would mean for them and their families,” he said, in remarks at the National Press Club on Tuesday. “It is unacceptable to me that men and women putting their lives on the line in distant lands have to worry about whether those here in Washington can effectively support them. We're down to the wire here.”
 
Panetta last week spoke to troops at stops in Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Turkey.
 

Fresh off his eighth visit to Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said he is frustrated that wherever he goes, U.S. troops are asking him nervous questions about defense spending cuts looming over their heads because of Washington’s inability to make a budget deal.
 
“Whenever I visit our troops, they make clear their concern about what those cuts would mean for them and their families,” he said, in remarks at the National Press Club on Tuesday. “It is unacceptable to me that men and women putting their lives on the line in distant lands have to worry about whether those here in Washington can effectively support them. We’re down to the wire here.”
 
Panetta last week spoke to troops at stops in Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Turkey.
 

Kevin Baron is a national security reporter for Foreign Policy, covering defense and military issues in Washington. He is also vice president of the Pentagon Press Association. Baron previously was a national security staff writer for National Journal, covering the "business of war." Prior to that, Baron worked in the resident daily Pentagon press corps as a reporter/photographer for Stars and Stripes. For three years with Stripes, Baron covered the building and traveled overseas extensively with the secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, covering official visits to Afghanistan and Iraq, the Middle East and Europe, China, Japan and South Korea, in more than a dozen countries. From 2004 to 2009, Baron was the Boston Globe Washington bureau's investigative projects reporter, covering defense, international affairs, lobbying and other issues. Before that, he muckraked at the Center for Public Integrity. Baron has reported on assignment from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and the South Pacific. He was won two Polk Awards, among other honors. He has a B.A. in international studies from the University of Richmond and M.A. in media and public affairs from George Washington University. Originally from Orlando, Fla., Baron has lived in the Washington area since 1998 and currently resides in Northern Virginia with his wife, three sons, and the family dog, The Edge. Twitter: @FPBaron

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