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Leon Panetta, Secretary Of Defense, Changes Tone On Defense Cuts

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Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta testifies before the House Committee on Armed Services on Capitol Hill on October 13, 2011 in Washington, DC. The hearing focused on the future of national defense ten years after the September 11 terrorist attacks. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Until Tuesday Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta had been describing Pentagon budget cuts beyond the $450 billion over 10 years he and President Obama have already committed to in apocalyptic terms: "doomsday," "catastrophic," and "shooting ourselves in the head" to describe any cuts in the Pentagon's budget.

But on Tuesday, a new Leon Panetta was rolled out in a speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center. Gone were apocalyptic lamentations proclaiming that a return to 2007 levels of Pentagon spending to be the end of budget life as we know it-even if it is also true that 2007 was a post-World War II high at the time, $73 billion higher than spending in 2000, and $38 billion above average annual spending during the Cold War.

Read the whole story at AOL Defense

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