The chairman of the House panel overseeing the military budget has a simple message for the supercommittee charged with cutting the deficit: "Leave us alone."
Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon warned on Wednesday against deeper cuts in defense spending beyond the $350 billion over 10 years in the legislation Congress passed last month. In a round-table discussion with reporters, the California Republican said his Armed Services Committee is still trying to get a handle on the first wave of reductions.
The supercommittee begins its work on Thursday and is likely to consider further cuts in the military. If the panel fails to produce a plan, or Congress rejects its proposal to slice $1.2 trillion from the deficit, defense would face even more reductions _ automatic cuts of up to $600 billion.