US Defense Department Expected to Unveil Budget Cuts

Posted January 25th, 2012 at 12:35 pm (UTC-5)
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The U.S. Department of Defense is expected to kick off this year’s annual budget debate this week by announcing its plans for spending cuts in 2013 and through the next decade.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is expected to unveil the basic outlines of the budget request on Thursday. The White House is expected to send its national budget plan to Congress in mid-February.

Earlier this month, President Barack Obama unveiled a new strategic plan for the military that includes cuts of nearly $500 billion over 10 years.

Some news media reports this week forecast the Pentagon will cut about $6 billion, or 1 percent, from its base budget in the coming year. In December, Congress approved a base budget of $531 billion for the current fiscal year, which ends September 30.

Further cuts are expected in the years ahead, as the Pentagon reduces the number of troops, delays or trims plans for buying new ships, aircraft and weapons, and shifts its focus to creating a more agile force.

Congress and the Obama administration battled all last year over the federal budget and national debt. Republicans in Congress have opposed White House efforts to raise revenue in addition, and said the administration’s proposed budget cuts were insufficient. However, many Republicans support deeper cuts in domestic programs rather than the military.