WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential hopefuls are assailing plans to cut the defense budget.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney says the cuts are undermining troop capacity, delaying the building of aircraft carriers and cutting the capacity of the U.S. to defend itself.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry says that even Defense Secretary Leon Panetta opposes the cuts. He says if Panetta is "an honorable man," he should resign in protest.
The Pentagon is already facing $450 billion in cuts to projected spending over the next 10 years, an amount that could more than double beginning in 2013 under automatic cuts established by the failure of the deficit-reduction supercommittee.
Two others at Tuesday night's GOP candidate debate, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, refused to say defense spending would be off limits to budget cuts.