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With Sequestration Fix in Doubt, Prospect of Further Defense Cuts Grows

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  • December 20, 2012
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With the prospect of a bipartisan deal to avert the fiscal cliff — including $52 billion in fiscal 2013 defense cuts — in doubt, lawmakers are trying to figure out how much of a spending reduction the Pentagon’s budget can absorb before core strategy is jeopardized.

President Obama’s most recent deficit reduction proposal, for instance, called for $200 billion in discretionary spending cuts over the coming decade, including $100 billion from defense. That figure, which has been tossed around over the past several months, seems to be as high as many lawmakers, at least defense hawks, are willing to go, reported CQ.

Of course, with the clock ticking down toward the Jan. 2 trigger of sequestration, any cut lower than an average of $50 billion a year or so will begin to look favorable.

Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) believes that a $100 billion reduction would be difficult but manageable. At least half of the savings could come from accelerating the drawdown of troops from Afghanistan, according to the story. The rest likely could come out of operations and maintenance and accounting adjustments, avoiding the need to slash funding from a weapons program.

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