Defense on the Chopping Block?

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That’s the word from Capitol Hill as detailed in this morning’s lead story in the Washington Post:

Freshman Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) could serve as a poster boy for the new breed of conservatives who are eager to wipe out government waste and inefficiency, no matter where they find it. Kinzinger, an active-duty Air National Guardsman who flew missions in Iraq, fought successfully last month to cut a request for $100 million to buy new flight suits for Air Force pilots. The old ones, he argued, are good enough.

Defense spending is “a pillar of Republican strength. It’s a pillar of national strength. Look, I know there are sacred cows,” Kinzinger said in an interview. “But we cannot afford them anymore.”

This growing GOP atttitude, plus the arrival of budget-cutter Leon Panetta as defense secretary on Friday, suggest President Obama’s goal of cutting security spending by $400 billion over the coming 12 years won’t be as tough as some predict — and others fear.