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Let Slip the ATMs of War: Pentagon Plans More Drones, Less Troops Under Obama Budget

From ABC News:

That buzz you hear above your head is the sound of the Pentagon cutting its budget.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta detailed today how the Obama administration plans to achieve $487 billion in cuts over the next decade, in part by reducing the number of ships, planes and troops, but continuing to fund elite special forces — and support technologies like unmanned drones.

Panetta will request a Pentagon budget of $525 billion for fiscal year 2013, a $6 billion reduction from last year’s budget and $33 billion less than what had been forecast a few years ago. The administration will also ask for another $88.4 billion to maintain the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan, a reduction from the $115 billion being spent this year.

Panetta told reporters that the impact of the cuts will be far-ranging, “make no mistake, the savings we are proposing will impact all 50 states, and many districts across America.”

Anticipating the tough fight the proposals will likely face on Capitol Hill, Panetta said they “will be a test of whether reducing the deficit is about talk or action.”

The plan presented today reflects the new military strategy released earlier this month that shifts the military’s attention away from the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan towards Asia and the Middle East.

To that end the Pentagon will continue to fund the resources that enable it to project its power into those regions, such as the development of a new long-range bomber and maintaining the Navy’s fleet of aircraft carriers at 11. One of the Navy’s new Combat Littoral ships will be based in Singapore and patrol craft will continue to operate out of Bahrain.

There are interesting plans to “acquire an afloat staging base for support to ISR, Special Operations Force, and countermine missions.” Very little is known about this proposed facility, which one Defense official said was intended for deployment to Asian waters. ISR is the acronym for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, Pentagon shorthand for drones, so presumably the platform will increase the projection of drone activity to that part of the world.

Read the rest of the story here.

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