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Pentagon acts toward budget cuts

(Xinhua)

10:52, August 20, 2011

WASHINGTON, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- Pentagon officials are working with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to determine what a newly-issued budget guidance will mean for defense budget, Pentagon spokesman said Friday.

"I don't think this is necessarily a sea-change event," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters, adding that for months Pentagon officials have been working toward a goal of cutting 400 billion dollars from the budget over the next 10 years.

The guidance that OMB released Thursday advises federal agencies to prepare for overall budget requests that are 5 percent below their current appropriations.

The guidance comes in the wake of a hard-won legislation to raise the debt ceiling and reduce the deficit. The new law ordered 350 billion dollars of baseline defense cuts in 10 years, which the Pentagon said it is prepared to implement. But the deal also included a sequestration mechanism which could cut defense budgets by additional 500 billion dollars in a decade if a bipartisan penal fails to provide a proposal of further spending cuts or Congress fails to approve that proposal.

The defense budget for the 2011 fiscal year that ends Sept.30 provides 528.9 billion dollars for the base budget and 159 billion dollars for spending in two battlefields -- Iraq and Afghanistan.

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