Defense-Budget Primer…For Normal Folks

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Hiro Chang

Marines on the march at the Presidio in San Francisco

The debate over defense spending will light its afterburner Thursday afternoon, when SecDef Leon Panetta and Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, invite us into the Pentagon kitchen and show us how they plan to use their knives to trim $487 billion from military spending over the coming decade.

Before the hyperbole begins (oops – sorry – too late for that) check out this “reader’s guide” to the looming fight by Jeff Smith of the Center for Public Integrity (before that, he was a long-time national-security reporter at the Washington Post). Smith straight-forwardedly answers key questions on the defense budget’s size, its impact on job creation, and to what extent the Adminstration is simply trying to cram a strategy into a skinnier wallet.