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Center For Defense Information
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The jet that ferries President Obama on his "sequestration" budget campaign, gun-control appearances and vacations is one of the Air Force's most expensive to fly by the hour.
The Pentagon's intense public relations campaign is designed to sell Congress and the public on how the first year of "sequester" budget cuts is leaving the U.S. military unable to train or deploy overseas. Public warnings generally have garnered media sympathy, but there have been signs in recent weeks of a backlash from the Washington press corps.
The Pentagon has squandered billions of dollars over the past two decades on weapon systems it never produced and on rosy cost estimates that ballooned to sizes that ate up funds for other projects, according to government reports and defense analysts.
In a time of deep deficits and tight budgets, President Obama says the Defense Department cannot be entirely spared the scalpel. But Mitt Romney, his likely opponent in November's election, says the U.S. must spend more on the Pentagon now because it will pay off with a stronger economy in the long run.
Left-leaning Pentagon critics are panning congressional testimony by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and his top officers, who warned of catastrophes if the military is forced to cut $1 trillion if congressional budget talks fail.
Despite a near-consensus on Capitol Hill on the need to cut spending, about a fifth of the federal budget has been placed entirely off limits: the Defense Department, which is so awash in cash that even its auditors have a tough time telling where all the money is going.