Defense Secretary nominee, CIA Director Leon Panetta, testifies before the Senate Armed Service Committee hearing on his nomination for Defense Secretary on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 9. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
President Barack Obama stands with outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates (r.) and Defense Secretary nominee Leon Panetta as he introduces a reworked national security team in the East Room of the White House in Washington on April 28. Charles Dharapak/AP
President-elect Barack Obama answers a question at a press conference to name Leon Panetta (l.) as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington on January 9, 2009. Dennis Brack/CNP/Newscom/File
'The West Wing' actor John Spencer talks with former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta during a reception for US News & World Report prior to the annual White House Correspondents Association dinner in Washington on April 29, 2000. Zuma Press/Newscom/File
White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta speaks with reporters following a meeting with moderate senators to try and reach an accord on stalled budget negotiations in Washington on Jan. 25, 1996. Ricardo Watson/Newscom/File
White House chief of Staff Leon Panetta (c.) introduces President Bill Clinton at the dedication of California State University Monterey Bay in Seaside, Calif., on Sept. 4, 1995; at right is CSUMB President Peter Smith. Zuma Press/Newscom/File
Representative Leon Panetta is pictured in 1982. Mr. Panetta was elected in 1976 to the US Congress, representing California's 16th district and serving for 9 terms. Dennis Brack/Newscom/File
Leon Panetta practiced law at Panetta, Thompson & Panetta from 1971 through to 1976. In 1966, Panetta started in politics as a legislative assistant to Senator Thomas Kuchel (R) of California. Mr. Panetta later became a Democrat. Zuma Press/Newscom/File
In a letter Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told Congress there were no 'viable alternatives' to putting civilian defense employees on furlough should scheduled budget cuts take effect on March 1. President Obama spoke in favor of avoiding the cuts on local television around the country, Wednesday.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta formally notified Congress on Wednesday that the Pentagon plans to put civilian defense employees on unpaid leave this year if $46 billion in across-the-board U.S. government spending cuts take effect on March 1.