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Published: 02/14/11

Big Defense Budget Request Actually Down in Total Dollars

By  Sharon Weinberger - AOL News
Big Defense Budget Request Actually Down in Total Dollars

Defense Secretary Robert Gates today unveiled the Pentagon's proposed 2012 budget, the department's largest-ever spending request, calling it "a reasonable, responsible and sustainable level of funding" given the national security threats facing the United States. The request included $553 billion for the base budget of the Defense Department and an additional $118 billion to support ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The latter number represents a decline from the Pentagon's 2011 spending, primarily because of the expected troop withdrawal from Iraq, but the base budget...

Published: 01/23/11

Tea Party-Backed Candidates Say Defense Not Exempt From Cuts

By  not in system - AOL News
Tea Party-Backed Candidates Say Defense Not Exempt From Cuts

WASHINGTON -- Tea partiers clamoring for the debt-ridden government to slash spending say nothing should be off limits. Tea party-backed lawmakers echo that argument, and they're not exempting the military's multibillion-dollar budget in a time of war. That demand is creating hard choices for the newest members of Congress, especially Republicans who owe their elections and solid House majority to the influential grass-roots movement. Cutting defense and canceling weapons could mean deep spending reductions and high marks from tea partiers as the nation wrestles with a $1.3 trillion deficit....

Published: 01/6/11

Defense Secretary Plans to Cut $78B From Pentagon Budget

By  not in system - AOL News
Defense Secretary Plans to Cut $78B From Pentagon Budget

WASHINGTON -- For the first time in more than a decade defined by costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Pentagon announced plans Thursday to freeze its ballooning budget, forcing the services to shrink the Army and Marines and increase health care premiums for military retirees and their families. The Pentagon says it can stop asking for annual budget increases in 2015, adjusting its spending only for inflation. The last time the Pentagon's budget went down was in 1998. The plan is aimed at helping the nation whittle away at its massive deficit. But the proposal, which requires $78...

Published: 12/27/10

Busy With Afghanistan, the U.S. Military Has No Time to Train for Big Wars

By  David Wood - Politics Daily
Busy With Afghanistan, the U.S. Military Has No Time to Train for Big Wars

We have learned through painful experience that the wars we fight are seldom the wars we planned. -- Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Feb. 1, 2010 Just after a cold, rainy dawn, a U.S. Army battalion under the command of Lt. Col. Charles B. Smith took up positions along a low Korean ridgeline with orders to stop the enemy tank columns racing toward them. The Americans were lightly armed draftees assigned to peacetime occupation duties in Japan. They'd never trained for major combat. But they wore the uniform of the most powerful nation on earth. They expected a short skirmish: When the...

Published: 10/30/10

Afghanistan: Despite Challenges Ahead, War Is Missing From Campaigns

By  David Wood - Politics Daily
Afghanistan: Despite Challenges Ahead, War Is Missing From Campaigns

In its coming session, Congress will decide whether to pay for another year of military operations in Afghanistan -- with likely casualties of a thousand or more American battle dead -- or cut war funding to force President Obama to start withdrawing troops. Congress will decide how much treatment soldiers will get for blast injury and whether they deserve a pay raise. It will decide how many protective armored trucks the troops will get, and the quality of their body armor. It will repeal "Don't ask, don't tell" or let the courts decide. It will judge how much compensation and other benefits...

Published: 10/15/10

UK Cuts Endanger Special Relationship With US

By  Theunis Bates - AOL News
UK Cuts Endanger Special Relationship With US

LONDON (Oct. 15) -- Since the end of World War II, Britain has been America's most dependable ally, fighting alongside it in battle zones from Korea to Afghanistan. But leading U.S. officials are now questioning whether that special relationship can survive plans by the country's recession-hit government to brutally slash its military spending. The full extent of the cuts will be set out Tuesday, when British Defence Secretary Liam Fox unveils the conclusions of the four-month Strategic Defence and Security Review. When that review was launched in June, the newly elected Conservative...

Published: 09/13/10

US Plans $60 Billion in Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia

By  Sharon Weinberger - AOL News
US Plans $60 Billion in Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia

(Sept. 13) -- The Obama administration is expected to formally notify Congress soon of a record-setting arms sale worth $60 billion to Saudi Arabia. The deal is expected to include 84 F-15E fighters and almost 200 helicopters, including Apaches and Black Hawks, The Wall Street Journal reported today. A Pentagon spokesman confirmed the planned sale, which must still be formally approved by Congress, but he declined to provide details, according to The Associated Press. The massive deal is expected to significantly expand the oil-rich kingdom's military arsenal and benefit the U.S. defense...

Published: 08/16/10

Robert Gates Plans a Last Hurrah to Control Defense Spending Before Retiring

By  David Wood - Politics Daily
Robert Gates Plans a Last Hurrah to Control Defense Spending Before Retiring

With his casual announcement that he will retire sometime next year, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has signaled that a "surge'' in his own assault on Pentagon old-think, bureaucracy and inflated budget gimmickry has begun. In the 45 months since he was sworn in as President George W. Bush's second defense secretary, Gates has smiled often and fought briskly to force the Pentagon and its outriders in Congress and the defense industry to live up to the high expectations of the troops in the field and taxpayers at home. That meant, he often said: No business as usual. No meandering...

Published: 08/15/10

Political Opposites Tom Coburn, Andrew Stern Apply 'Sharp Knives' to Defense Budget

By  Jill Lawrence - Politics Daily
Political Opposites Tom Coburn, Andrew Stern Apply 'Sharp Knives' to Defense Budget

Conservative Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and liberal labor leader Andrew Stern don't come to mind as natural partners. But they are on a joint mission to trim the nation's $625 billion defense budget. Former Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming, co-chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, dropped word of the unusual pairing at a recent presentation to governors in Boston. "Two very good men with sharp minds and sharp knives," he said, their goal to excise the fat "without hurting our troops or our mission." The Pentagon budget is much in the news these days, what with...

Published: 08/10/10

Military Health Care Budget a Challenge for Pentagon

By  Andrea Stone - AOL News
Military Health Care Budget a Challenge for Pentagon

News Analysis WASHINGTON (Aug. 10) -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates' vow to shut a major military command and eliminate thousands of contractor jobs to plug a "gusher of defense spending" will do little to reduce the Pentagon budget but will prove a breeze compared with cutting military health care costs. Military analysts, including several who met privately with Gates this week, said that the uproar from Virginia officials over the closing of the U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) in Norfolk and the firing of defense contractors in the Washington suburbs will pale next to the national...

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3/14/11 at 11:00 PM

French Comedy 'Potiche' Mixes Laughs With Social Message

By  Eleanor Clift

For women, and men too, weary of nuance and...

3/14/11 at 8:27 AM

Can the Girl Scouts Help Balance Georgia's Budget?

By  Joanne Bamberger

If Georgia lawmakers get their way,...

3/13/11 at 1:30 PM

Mom Has Cancer. Her Son Reacts.

By  Donna Trussell

My friend Julie Levine had everything I...

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