WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. senators are warning the man nominated to be the next defense chief to be wary of draconian Pentagon budget cuts, laying down a gauntlet against the $400 billion in national security reductions that President Barack Obama has proposed.
Leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee tell Leon Panetta the Pentagon must scrutinize the budget for potential efficiencies. But they also say the U.S. cannot afford to slice into the muscle of America's military power.
Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona says defense spending is not what is sinking the nation into fiscal crisis.
Panetta was appearing before the panel for a hearing on his nomination to succeed Robert Gates as defense secretary. Panetta currently heads the CIA.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)