Defense secretary to advise senior leaders on budget

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 28, 2015 7:03 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter is due to meet with senior military leaders on Thursday to map out his budget priorities for the coming year, the Pentagon's chief weapons buyer said on Tuesday.

"It's going to be a chance for the secretary to meet with all the leadership from the co-coms (combatant commands) and the services and talk about some of the choices that we're facing on the budget," Defense Undersecretary Frank Kendall told reporters at an industry conference.

Deputy Secretary Robert Work, speaking about the tight budget at the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation at the end of June, said Carter's guidance would help the military services chart out how to free up resources for "higher priority missions such as nuclear, space, cyber, et cetera."

Carter's Senior Leadership Council includes the combatant commanders, the military service chiefs and other top Defense Department officials.

Lockheed Martin Corp, Boeing Co and other top weapons makers are scrambling to carry out acquisitions and drum up new foreign military sales to offset a drop in U.S. military spending in recent years. Most companies expect spending to bottom out in 2015 and begin rising again next year.

“This is the venue where he disseminates his budget guidance,” said Navy Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.

Kendall said the meeting would touch on key innovation priorities as well as the larger budget outlook.

(Reporting by David Alexander and Andrea Shalal; Editing by Bernard Orr)