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Gates Expected to Announce Budget Details, Cuts to Weapons Programs

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Photo: defense.gov

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is expected to brief lawmakers Thursday about proposed cuts to military spending before publicly announcing cuts to weapons programs, according to various media reports.

According to Agence France-Presse, Gates is expected to cancel the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, long under a microscope, and make changes to the F-35 jet program.

The move is widely seen, Agence France-Presse reports, as an “attempt to preempt Congress,” which has been considering even deeper cuts to the Pentagon’s budget than what Gates proposed in a round of efficiencies last summer.

Reuters reports the move reflects a “tussle” between the secretary and the White House over the Pentagon’s budget.

Gates originally proposed a $100 billion round of efficiency initiatives in August, which would cut money from overhead costs and repurpose it into weapons systems and procurement.

However, as political winds shifted, talk began of actual cuts to DoD’s budget to be used for deficit reduction throughout the federal government.

Last month, Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he had “zero faith” that DoD would be able to keep the money saved from DoD’s efficiencies within the department.

Reuters reports the White House has recently been “pressing” Gates to make cuts of about $150 billion “to help narrow the huge federal deficit.”

However, according to Agence France-Presse, Gates has resisted those calls and instead will announce about $80 billion in cost savings.

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