By Thom Shanker & Elisabeth Bumiller, New York Times, Nov. 6/7, 2011
WASHINGTON — Under orders to cut the Pentagon budget by more than $450 billion over the next decade, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta is considering reductions in spending categories once thought sacrosanct, especially in medical and retirement benefits, as well as further shrinking the number of troops and reducing new weapons purchases.
Mr. Panetta, a former White House budget chief, acknowledged in an interview that he faced deep political pressures as he weighed cuts to Pentagon spending, which has doubled to $700 billion a year since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He said that meeting deficit-reduction targets might require another round of base closings, which could be highly contentious as members of Congress routinely fight to protect military deployments and jobs in their communities.
Among other steps, Mr. Panetta said, Pentagon strategists were looking at...
Related commentary and analysis:
Congress Is Not About To Let The Pentagon Budget Get Slashed by Ted Mann @ The Atlantic Wire, Nov. 5.
Rumsfeld’s CFO: Bring on the supercommittee defense "trigger" by Josh Rogin @ The Cable Nov. 7 @ Foreignpolicy.com
Michael O'Hanlon in a Nov. 7 guest post @ Tom Ricks' Best Defense blog @ Foreignpolicy.com, with an excerpt from his e-book to be published next week, The Wounded Giant: America's Armed Forces in an Age of Austerity: The future of the force: Better think twice before cutting lots of heavy ground units.