Budget gridlock imperils national defense
Arms systems cuts look likely
Defense analysts and Capitol Hill insiders are anticipating that automatic federal budget cuts will occur Jan. 1 and force the armed forces to scrap plans for new weapons systems.
Washington’s polarized political landscape shows no signs of a compromise on taxes and spending that would head off the 2011 Budget Control Act’s requirement for across-theboard cuts to begin in nine months.
For the Pentagon, this would mean another 10-year, $500 billion spending cut in addition to the already budgeted $487 billion reduction. In the first year of the automatic spending reductions, the military would need to slash an additional $50 billion from its budget, likely ending a new long- range bomber and a new Army tactical vehicle, and shrinking the Navy’s fleet of 11 aircraft carriers.
“I didn’t use to think this way,” said Daniel Goure, a longtime defense analyst at the probusiness Lexington Institute think tank. “But unless one side
CLOSE ENCOUNTER: President Obama peers into North Korea on Sunday from an observation post in the Demilitarized Zone, the tense military border between the two Koreas in Panmunjom, South Korea.