Pentagon chief to preview fiscal 2017 budget on Feb. 2: sources

WASHINGTON U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter is scheduled to preview the Pentagon’s fiscal 2017 budget request in a speech on Feb. 2, a week before the White House sends its budget plans to Congress, two U.S. defense officials said on Monday.

Carter is expected to highlight the broad themes of the Pentagon’s budget request and its priorities, rather than presenting a detailed list of programmatic changes, said one of the sources, who was not authorized to speak publicly.

A massive government spending bill enacted by Congress last year set a spending level of about $576 billion for the Pentagon in fiscal 2017, which meant the Defense Department had to trim its planned funding levels by about $15 billion.

The White House earlier this month said it plans to release President Barack Obama’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2017, which begins on Oct. 1, on Feb. 9.

Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N), maker of the F-35 fighter jet, Boeing Co (BA.N) and other big weapons makers are anxiously awaiting details about the budget and how it will affect their programs.

Senior defense officials have said that the $15 billion in cuts would largely come from procurement accounts since personnel costs and operations costs were harder to cut.

Defense Undersecretary Frank Kendall, the military’s chief weapons buyer, told reporters last month that the Pentagon’s fiscal 2017 budget plan may slow production of key weapons programs, including the F-35 fighter jet.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Phil Stewart; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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