At a hearing today on Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned that sequestration will lead to America becoming a "second-rate power":

"If sequester takes place, and we suddenly have another half a trillion dollars that I got to take out of the defense budget, in an across-the-board fashion, frankly the defense strategy we put in place I'd have to throw out the window," said Panetta. "And we would clearly impact seriously, particularly on maintenance and readiness, as I said, we would have a terrible readiness crisis. but as time went on and the erosion that would take place in our capabilities, instead of being a first-rate power in the world, we'd turn into a second-rate power. That would be the result of sequester."

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