The Pentagon has no plans in place to deal with the $500 billion in spending cuts theoretically heading its way thanks to the supercommittee’s failure—and it refuses to make any now. “We are not planning for the” cuts, a Pentagon spokesman tells the New York Times. “The focus is on trying to get Congress to do what it said it would do.” Leon Panetta has decried the cuts as “a seam in the nation’s defense,” slashing the Pentagon’s budget by 23%.
Analysts with close ties to the Pentagon were flabbergasted that an agency so devoted to contingency planning wasn’t prepared for this. They said the cuts would be painful but doable, possibly involving cutting, among other things, weapons programs, the size of the army, and even one of the nation’s 11 aircraft carriers. Panetta’s 23% figure is also somewhat inflated, since it includes cuts already agreed to with the White House. The actual figure is closer to 11%, putting defense spending at 2007 levels. (Read more Defense Dept stories.)