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Pentagon unveils defense cuts

by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - In Arlington, Virginia today the Pentagon outlined its plan for how it's going to cut some $487 billion from the Department of Defense's budget over the next decade. Although no specifics were released, Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo is already concerned about what's been proposed to be placed on the chopping block.

With a target of close to a half-billion dollars to cut over the next ten years, the DoD's top guns announced today the savings will come from waiting to purchase new equipment like next-generation stealth fighter jets, retiring aging ships and jets and by reducing the number of service members. But chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey said a leaner force should not be confused with one that is less prepared to handle multiple threats if needed.

 "We prepared a budget that strikes an appropriate and necessary balance between succeeding in today's conflicts and preparing for tomorrow's," he said.

And preparing for future conflicts, as expressed recently by President Barack Obama is strengthening the military's power in the Asia-Pacific, Congresswoman Bordallo reacting the Pentagon's proposal says although it continues to show this Administration's commitment to our region. She's concerned about some proposed end strength and acquisition program changes that could create a hollow force in the Air National Guard. In particular, she says she's concerned about the proposal to divest the C-27j program and that impact on homeland defense and the proposal to terminate the Global Hawk Block 30 Program and its potential impact on ISR capabilities at Andersen AFB and our region.

According to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta overall the decision on the proposed cuts was difficult, but necessary in this tough economic climate, saying, "Make no mistake: The savings that we are proposing will impact on all 50 states and many districts - congressional districts across America. This will be a test, a test of whether reducing the deficit is about talk or about action."

Bordalllo in the meantime says she will work with her colleagues in the House Armed Services Committee to closely scrutinize these proposals once the president's budget is formally transmitted to Congress. 

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