Although the federal government might be nearing the end of its shutdown, a considerable amount of damage has already been done to both the Defense Department and the military community at large, causing former defense leaders to express their concern. 

According to The New York Times, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta outlined the seriousness of the federal shutdown at a recent meeting with reporters organized by The Wall Street Journal. 

"You take 70 percent of our intelligence people and furlough them, you're seriously damaging our ability to gain the kind of intelligence that we need to gain in order to be able to know what's going on in the world," Panetta said during the meeting. "This is not necessary. This isn't the result of a crisis; it's not the result of a war. … This is all self-inflicted."

Panetta added that the military's readiness has been negatively impacted since the shutdown began, the news source reported. The former director of the Central Intelligence Agency also criticized the current battle over health care. 

Since Oct. 1, numerous military programs and veterans benefits have been suspended, such as tuition assistance, reported Inside Higher Education. Other benefits, including death gratuity payments to the families of fallen soldiers, were initially halted until restored through legislation drafted by Congress.