Sec. of Defense Panetta speaks at Fort Campbell - WSMV News 4

Sec. of Defense Panetta speaks at Fort Campbell

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FORT CAMPBELL, KY (WSMV-AP) -

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta talked about military spending cuts and security concerns in Afghanistan during a Friday visit to Fort Campbell.

He said the planned $500 billion in cuts are a concern because the U.S. needs to stay strong in case of conflicts with Iran or North Korea.

The comments came during an address to 400 soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division.

Pay increases will only stay in effect for the next two years. High-ranking retirees would also be asked to contribute more to healthcare, he said. 

The secretary also talked about recent security worries in Afghanistan, where American forces have been killed by rogue Afghan soldiers. Panetta blamed the Taliban for the attacks, and said they have been reaching soldiers despite intense security screening.

Panetta advised soldiers to work in pairs on a "buddy" system and watch out for each other. He said an improved security force is the only way to make the country safe.

He was scheduled to watch predeployment training and medical response training and have a question and answer session.

This is Panetta's first visit to the post straddling the Tennessee-Kentucky border since taking office last July 1.

Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.

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