The Pentagon has begun preparing for a potential government shutdown when the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.
But even as it warns of the dire consequences of a lapse in full funding for the US military, a new study by a panel that includes four former flag officers on the Joint Chiefs of Staff concludes that that the Pentagon could cut 50,000 civilian employees – as well as 60,000 US troops – without damaging US national security.
“The Defense Department is not a jobs program,” Barry Blechman, an author of the report by the Stimson Center, a nonpartisan global security think tank, said at a press conference Tuesday releasing the report.
He added that lawmakers have “stood in the way” of cuts for fear of alienating big defense contractors who contribute to campaigns and create jobs in key districts.
Top Pentagon officials are telegraphing their own warnings to lawmakers, arguing that if Congress does not pass a budget or pass a continuing resolution by the end of the month, some portions of the Department of Defense will be forced to close.
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