Obama to kick off defense budget strategy rollout
Published: January 4, 2012
WASHINGTON - A rare presidential appearance in the Pentagon press briefing room on Thursday will kick off an overview of how officials are deciding what parts of the Defense Department fall under the budget-cutting knife.
President Barack Obama is scheduled to outline defense budgeting priorities, followed by an explanation by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey of the strategy guiding more than $450 billion in budget cuts over the next decade. Panetta and the White House argue those cuts can be made without damaging U.S. national security, a point influential Congressional Republicans don’t concede. Meanwhile the threat of over $1 trillion in cuts mandated by deficit cutting legistation hangs if a deadlocked Congress can’t agree on a budget solution.
Panetta is not going to speak in detail about where cuts will come from – whether weapons programs, retiree benefits or troop levels, Pentagon press secretary George Little said Wednesday. Not all decisions are yet final, officials say.
“This is not a rollout of the entire budget,” he said. “This is discussion of the budget strategy.”