Once More with the Budget Scalpel

With much of the lower-hanging fruit already slated to be eliminated from the Pentagon’s budget, a new push to reduce the federal debt can be expected to cut into the department’s core missions and capabilities.

“We are getting to the point where most of the programs we now have under way or which are getting under way are military capabilities we do need and do want,” Ashton Carter, undersecretary of defense for acquisitions, technology and logistics, told a Heritage Foundation audience Wednesday.

Carter’s comments came in the wake of the deficit reduction plan President Obama rolled out last week. The plan, designed to reduce the national debt by $4 trillion by 2023, calls for DOD to trim $400 billion from its budget over the next 12 years. The cuts would be in addition to the $78 billion in deficit reduction Defense Secretary Robert Gates wrung this year from the department’s five-year spending plan.

The effort to identify more savings most likely will first show up in DOD’s fiscal 2013 budget request, which defense officials already are starting to prepare. It’s already clear, noted Carter, that the days of “ever-increasing budgets of the post-9/11 decade” are over.

Read the American Forces Press Service story.

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