Secretary Panetta and senior members of his acquisition and budget team met today with leaders of the defense industrial base task force, organized by the Aerospace Industries Association, the Professional Services Council, and the National Defense Industrial Association.
The meeting continues a regular dialogue Panetta and departmental leaders conduct with defense industry. For this meeting, the devastating impact of sequestration on the defense industrial base and key domestic sectors was the top item on the agenda.
Panetta told industry representatives that his focus continues to be on preventing sequestration by urging Congress to achieve responsible deficit reduction. He emphasized the impossibility of planning for a sequester in a way that avoids its harmful impacts. There was agreement between the secretary and the CEOs that sequestration will do tremendous harm to domestic and national security programs across the board.
Panetta further emphasized the department will remain focused on implementing the strategy-driven budget it has developed. He said that maintaining a strong, vibrant and innovative defense industrial base is one of his top long-term strategic priorities as secretary of defense.