A "sword of Damocles" hangs over America's national defense, in the form of $120 billion spending cuts scheduled for the end of 2012. The cuts will have dire effects on military readiness and equipment, warns a White House report leaked today - and will include $129m slashed from embassy security. Defense officials add that the military would be quite simply "hollowed out" by the cutbacks.
The cuts are part of the "sequester" agreed on in the debt ceiling deal last summer. According to the deal, the only way to avert the sequester is for Congress to cut the debt by $1.2 trillion, by raising taxes and cutting spending.