Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pentagon outlines budget plans

The Pentagon will ask Congress for $525 billion for the military in 2013, $6 billion less than the current budget. Congress will also be asked to approve a new round of base closures. The request announced Thursday would eliminate some 100,000 ground troops, mothball ships and trim squadrons, but increase special forces, improve cyber defense and put more emphasis on drone aircraft. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, previewing plans that will be revealed in more detail next month, said the proposal "will impact all 50 states and many … congressional districts across America." The proposed budget has the Navy keeping 11 carriers, but retires seven cruisers earlier than planned and delays purchases of subs, amphibious assault ships and other vessels. It also slows the purchase of F-35s. Congress controls the Pentagon budget, which is 20 percent of total federal spending, and regularly intervenes. (Sources: multiple, including AP, Reuters, 01/26/12) Gulf Coast note: The Gulf Coast region builds military vessels and portions of drone aircraft, and has several special operations bases and activities. It's also involved in cyber security training at several locations.