Panetta: Military Capabilities 'Enhanced' After Embassy Attacks
Panetta said the recent string of violent protests are a reminder that the U.S. "needs to maintain a strong presence in the Middle East." He acknowledged that the location of U.S. bases in Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar makes it easier to respond to conflicts in the region.
The defense secretary also said that strategic manuevers such as utilizing members of small Marine Fleet Antiterrorism Security Teams (FAST) and moving warships into unstable regions would also speed up response time to potential unrest.
Panetta also added that he thinks Libyan officials have put forth a "strong effort" in helping provide better security.
An attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans earlier last week. Violent protests also erupted near U.S. embassies in Egypt, Yemen and Tunisia after an anti-Muslim video went viral on YouTube.