"The current budget impasse likely will impose some painful choices on Congress and the Pentagon. The important thing, however, is to recognize that they are politically painful, not necessarily strategically costly."
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Editor's note: Read the original op-ed from POLITICO.
Regardless of whether Congress averts sequestration in the near term, the defense budget will still fall victim to the nation’s $16 trillion debt, most likely remaining flat or even shrinking in real terms over the next few years. Nevertheless, expected cuts need not be catastrophic. If the process is managed correctly, emphasizing innovation, recognizing changed demographics, and willing to tackle third rail personnel issues, then the immediate political pain will not necessarily be strategically costly.