Politics of Defense Cuts: Emphasize the Positive

January 26, 2012

The Pentagon is preparing to tighten its belt, but with an election-year battle looming in Congress and on the presidential campaign trail, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta wants to stress the positive: Parts of the budget devoted to reshaping the military to fit a new global strategy will actually get fatter, he says.

But that's unlikely to mollify Republicans who say President Barack Obama's plan will leave the Pentagon stretched too thin to handle potential security threats in the Middle East, Asia and beyond.

Panetta is expected to outline the main areas of proposed spending cuts and increases at a Pentagon news conference Thursday, more than two weeks before the Obama administration submits its 2013 budget proposal to Congress. He will be joined by Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for a presentation designed to highlight the military leadership's embrace of defense cuts. 

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