Experts: Pentagon won't escape future cuts

Jan. 26, 2010 at 5:43 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. Defense Department's budget won't stay immune to the country's poor economy and budget deficits forever, experts say.

Several budget analysts speaking Tuesday at a Washington event sponsored by the independent Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments said that even the Pentagon will eventually have to absorb some of the ill effects of the recession and deficits in the form of budget reductions, The Hill reported.

"There is no way -- no way -- that the defense budget will be immune to deficit reduction," the publication quoted Stanley Collender, the managing director at Qorvis Communications, as saying.

Todd Harrison, a CSBA analyst, told attendees soaring budget deficits will force the Defense Department to stop putting off difficult funding decisions, some of which may come down to choices between "benefits and pay for military personnel -- much of which accrues to retirees -- and funding the weapons systems troops need for the conflicts they are in today and must prepare for the future."

The Hill said the Pentagon's budget request for fiscal 2011, to be unveiled Feb. 1, won't include significant cuts. But it noted that for the first time, interest on the national debt will exceed Pentagon spending.

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