Thirty-four percent of Insiders said that the super committee, while seeking a compromise to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion, will trim up to $100 billion more from the Pentagon’s coffers than expected. The debt-ceiling deal’s planned cutbacks to defense is largely in line with a similar proposal that President Obama announced in April.
“The committee is going to be painfully aware that it can’t make these cuts without reducing our military capabilities–but it will probably make them anyway,” one Insider said. “Every part of the federal budget will have its defenders claiming it should be immune, but they’ll all fail.”
Another 13 percent of Insiders said that the committee could suggest nearly double the anticipated cuts. “The proposed $350 billion cut over 10 years, or $35 billion per year, is only about 5 percent of annual defense spending,” one Insider said. “The super committee will be hard-pressed to do less than double this reduction because of declining support for the Afghanistan war and because of sure-fire domestic political heat, which will be kindled by the likely cuts of much greater than 10 percent per year for a number of domestic agencies with strong domestic constituencies.”