The 2011 budget (or lack thereof) stole the show at a Defense Department news conference Monday about the just-released 2012 budget.
Robert Hale, DoD’s comptroller, made dire predictions about the lack of an official budget and said the hard choices the Pentagon would have to make in reduced spending was akin to “which child do you kill?”
But, as for the 2012 budget, which the White House unveiled Monday? A-OK.
“This is a responsible budget that meets our national security needs and is sustainable,” Hale said.
In the $671 billion budget for fiscal year 2012, “total defense spending would decrease 6.6 percent, but the base budget — all funding except overseas contingency operations — would increase 0.7 percent to $553 billion,” according to an American Forces Press Service report.
Hale said the proposed decrease for 2012, far from being harmful to the department, balances the military’s needs with those of lawmakers concerned about the deficit. And, Hale suggested it was time for the Pentagon to join deficit-reduction efforts.
“We in the department need to be part of the deficit reduction plan,” he added.
Under the proposed budget, DoD will reinvest about $100 billion of the $178 billion in efficiencies initiated by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. The leftover amount will be used to trim “top line” costs.