Meet the Press   |  October 13, 2013

Panetta: 'Readiness has been badly damaged'

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta discusses the negative impact that the government shutdown has had on the Department of Defense and its resulting impact on national security.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> when sequester was passed, before it was passed, you warned, as defense secretary , of grave consequences for america's military readiness. there is some who look at that and say, that was an overstatement. that yes, sequester cuts have hurt. but as you sit here now out of office, out of the your job as defense secretary , do you believe america is critically unprepared for a national security threat that can be met?

>> i think our readiness has been badly damaged. we've got 12 combat squadrons that have been grounded. half of the air force is not combat ready. we've got ships that are not being deployed. we've got training rotations that have been canceled. we've got 800,000 federal employees that have been furloughed under sequester and that are now taking a hit on the shutdown. all of this is impacting on our readiness and our ability to be able to handle a major crisis outside of afghanistan.

>> the president just launched two special operations here to fight terrorists. if that's the number one goal, he seems to have been quite capable of launching that in this past week.

>> the s.e.a.l.s and their operations and our ability to use special forces in these kinds of attacks, yes. but let me tell you something. on the broader crisis such as the middle east , we are going to be impacting on our readiness and our ability to respond to a crisis in that part of the world.