SecDef’s Budget Cut Ceiling: $350B

Posted: August 8, 2011 in Songs of Space and Nuclear War
Tags: , ,

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has set his not-to-exceed ceiling for defense cuts: $350 billion over 10 years.

Of course, Panetta’s Defense Department provides input into the President’s Budget and does not control the PB, let alone the actual appropriation legislation itself.  How is all this impacted by the recent debt deal?

…as part of the deal, a bipartisan supercommittee must come up with an additional $1.2 trillion in federal spending cuts.

If by Christmas the so-called supercommittee cannot reach a deal, and Congress does not approve it, then automatic "sequestration" cuts will go into effect in January. These cuts would be divided between federal departments. DoD’s share would be about $500 billion.

Given the automatic cuts that may kick in as a result of the debt deal, how is the Pentagon supposed to know what to plan to and plan for regarding funding?  After all, the Senate hasn’t delivered a budget for two years, and if that sort of trend continues, the debt reduction mechanism will automatically come up with a DoD ‘bill’ that’s half-again of Panetta’s stated ceiling.

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