Gates prepares more details on cuts to the defense budget

Defense Secretary Robert Gates reportedly will brief lawmakers Thursday with the latest update on his ambitious plans for cutting Pentagon spending.

Secretary Robert Gates tomorrow is expected to discuss the forthcoming fiscal 2012 defense budget, including ongoing and controversial measures to shave over $100 billion in Defense Department spending.

That money, under Gates’ proposals from last summer, was supposed to go toward war spending, but now, it appears there may be a tug-of-war going on as the White House pushes for more saving. The administation apparently wants to have at least some of the money directed toward reducing the federal deficit.

Still, Gates may retain some leverage – though his office has publicly stated he plans to retire in 2011, at least one industry analyst says that President Barack Obama is working to persuade him to stay through the end of Obama’s term, according to a Reuters report.

The offices of top Democrats and Republicans from both the House and Senate armed forces committees have confirmed a scheduled meeting with Gates tomorrow, and although the Pentagon press office so far does not have a briefing scheduled, numerous published reports say he will address the press after the meeting on Capitol Hill.

According to the Washington Post, the DOD budget will see roughly $12 billion cut from original plans for fiscal 2012.

Unnamed sources told Reuters that tomorrow Gates will announce the cancellation of the Marine Corps’s $13 billion Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle program and a Pentagon surface-launched missile program, as well as the extension of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.

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