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US military ordered to prepare for fiscal 'perfect storm'

Published on Jan 11, 2013 8:28 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has ordered the US military to "prepare for the worst" and take cost-saving measures as it faces the threat of potential deep budget cuts.

The steps include scaling back maintenance, freezing civilian hiring and delaying some weapons contracts, he told a news conference.

The US military's vast budget is by far the largest in the world, with proposed spending for fiscal year 2013 of roughly US$614 billion (S$746.8 billion) and will remain so - despite what Mr Panetta dubbed a "perfect storm of budget uncertainty."

"We have no idea what the hell is going to happen," he added. "All told, this uncertainty, if left unresolved by the Congress, will seriously harm our military readiness."

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