WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Robert Gates is taking bold steps to try to spare the Pentagon from painful budget cuts, as newly elected tea party activists storm Capitol Hill pledging that no government program — even those for the troops — should be considered sacrosanct.
Gates was expected to announce Thursday that he would cancel a $13 billion plan to buy the Marines new armored vehicles from General Dynamics Corp. that can quickly ferry troops from ship to shore while under fire. Other cost-cutting measures were planned as well, including the delay of the Marine version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, according to defense analysts familiar with the plan.
The steps are part of a broader effort by Gates to find some $100 billion in budget fat through 2016 that he can reinvest in programs for the troops and modernizing weapon systems. He hopes to stave off deeper cuts imposed by the White House or Congress by showing that the federal government's biggest spender takes fiscal discipline seriously.
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