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Young and Castor: Looming Defense Budget Axe Likely To Largely Spare MacDill

Posted Jan 5, 2012 by Howard Altman

Updated Jan 5, 2012 at 04:59 PM

During his visit to the Pentagon this morning to unveil his vision for the future of the military, President Barack Obama tasked defense leaders to develop a leaner, less expensive military, with reduced focus on major ground wars and nation building while shifting emphasis toward the Pacific.

Following the President’s speech, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said that with a nation facing “very serious defense and debt problems,” the Pentagon will have to find a way to trim $487 billion over the next decade. The projected cuts will worsen, Panetta warned, if congress can’t come to an agreement on reducing the deficit.

Specific budget requests won’t be made to congress until next month. But despite projections of a smaller military with fewer troops and less new equipment, MacDill Air Force Base is well-positioned to avoid additional deep cuts, and the Tampa Bay region is set to capitalize on those areas the President said would grow under his plan, two members of Tampa Bay’s congressional contingent say.

“I don’t know that MacDill will see that much change,” said Congressman C.W. Bill Young (R-St. Petersburg), who chairs the influential House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Defense.

“We still have plenty of threats to our national security, that is why MacDill will probably not have any drastic impacts,” said Congresswoman Kathy Castor (D-Tampa), who sits on the House Armed Services Committee.

Read the full story later at TBO.com and in tomorrow’s Tampa Tribune.

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