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Nothing Exempt from Budget Axe: Everything has to be on the table, including the military's coveted retirement benefits, if America is going to tackle its ballooning deficit problems, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said during an event at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., earlier this week. However, it's critical that leaders find a way to address its budget woes "in a way that doesn't break faith … with our troops and with their families," said Panetta. That could mean "grandfathering" benefits that already exist for current troops. "You can't approach a deficit the size we're dealing with and expect that you're only going to be dealing with it at the margins. You've got to look at everything and we should," said Panetta. Pentagon officials are reviewing possible changes to the existing military retirement system as part of its overall efficiencies effort, but have said any changes will be weighed carefully. (Panetta transcript) (AFNS report)