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Panetta says budget cuts mean US can't make up NATO shortfalls; allies must pool resources
BRUSSELS (AP) ' U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says deep budget cuts will hurt America's ability to make up for the significant shortfalls that have plagued NATO's operations in Libya and Afghanistan. He is exhorting U.S. allies to work together or risk losing the ability to take on such missions.
In a carefully calibrated speech to the Brussels-based organization Carnegie Europe, Panetta is praising the broad effort that has come together in Libya. But he says the allies must better share the security burden in order to survive global financial pressures that are slicing into defense spending.
Panetta stopped short of the blistering critique delivered by his predecessor, Robert Gates, in June, when Gates questioned the alliance's viability and bluntly warned that it faces a "dim, if not dismal, future."