20111013 supercommittee
Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf testifies during a hearing before the Joint Deficit Reduction Committee, also known as the super committee, Sept. 13, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. - 

Jeremy Hobson: Well in Washington today, Congress will be sending deficit reduction proposals to the so-called super committee. That group has until Thanksgiving to come up with at least $1.2 trillion in cuts to the federal deficit. If members can't agree on cuts, there will be automatic cuts -- half of which would come from defense.

Marketplace's David Gura reports from Washington.

David Gura: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was on Capitol Hill yesterday, urging lawmakers to cut carefully to avoid arbitrary cuts.

Leon Panetta: It is a blind, mindless formula.

He said he's concerned about what could happen if the super committee doesn't do that. Panetta said an automatic across-the-board cut of $600 billion would weaken the military.

Gordon Adams teaches foreign policy at American University.

Gordon Adams: The most likely programs affected would be procurement programs, hardware programs.

There could be personnel cuts, base closures.

Adams: Mind you, I don't think it's going to happen.

Adams argues we'll never see these automatic cuts. He says there are two possible outcomes: Either the super committee does its job, or lawmakers punt.

The automatic cuts wouldn't take effect until January 2013 anyway. By then, a new Congress in the Capitol won't have to do follow the current Congress' rules.

In Washington, I'm David Gura for Marketplace.

Follow David Gura at @davidgura