WASHINGTON (AP) -- Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is telling Congress that deeper defense cuts would force the Pentagon to cut back ship and construction projects, furlough civilian workers and leave the military with the smallest force since 1940.
Panetta described the implications if a special congressional supercommittee fails to come up with a deficit-cutting plan by Nov. 23. On top of some $450 billion in defense cuts already under way, the Pentagon would face another $500 billion in reductions.
Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina wrote to Panetta earlier this month, asking for details on the cut.
Panetta wrote back to the lawmakers Monday.
The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter.