With the Pentagon facing $46 billion in mandatory spending cuts, the White House may try to use the sequester to argue for deeper cuts in military programs it has long wanted to scale back. According to The New York Times,
President Barack Obama will visit Capitol Hill Tuesday to push for a deficit reduction deal that would replace across-the-board cuts with more targeted ones.
On the president’s wish list, the Times reported, are base closings, further reductions in deployed nuclear weapons and weapons stockpiles, a restructuring of the military medical insurance program, and a scaling back of next-generation weapons programs, including the F-35 warplane.
Programs that the administration reportedly believes will need more funding include drones, cyberweapons and special operations forces, the newspaper noted.
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Pentagon officials are also beginning to look at ways to avoid indiscriminate cuts.
“What we’ve learned in the past year is that the politics of dumb cuts is easy, because no one has to think through the implications of slicing everything by 8 percent,” one senior defense official told the Times.
Last week, a group of five Pentagon officials called for a “bottom up” review of every major military program and weapons system to reassess their need, the newspaper noted.
The problem for the president and Pentagon, however, is that some of the areas where deeper cuts would reap the biggest, most immediate budget benefits, such as cutting the size of active-duty forces, involve programs that have the staunchest defenders in Congress.
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