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Pentagon budget woes: furlough civilians, buy tanks you don't want

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And as the war in Afghanistan winds down, the US military has already signaled what it sees as some of the next big trends in warfare. This includes cyberattacks – staving them off, as well as launching them – for which senior military officials say they desperately need more trained cyberspecialists.

The US military will also continue to monitor and strike complicated terrorist networks in places where the US troops – for reasons of politics and cost – will not put boots on the ground. For this reason, senior military officials have told Congress that they want more intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance (ISR) assets, such as the Predator and Reaper drones.

None of these requests includes the Abrams tank. “If we had our choice, we would use that money in a different way,” Gen. Raymond Odierno, the Army’s top officer, told the Associated Press last week.

No matter on Capitol Hill, where a rare bipartisan coalition is forming to force the military to buy $436 million worth of Abrams tanks that it insists it does not need.

The tank is big money for the congressional district that manufactures them in Lima, Ohio.

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