Signs of rare fiscal discipline at Pentagon seen as casualty of budget deal

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WASHINGTON — It was considered a crash diet but nevertheless a significant slimming down.

The across-the-board spending cuts that were beginning to seriously curtail the Pentagon’s spending power last year were widely viewed as too indiscriminate. Yet they were beginning to impose something rare inside the Department of Defense, which has seen its annual budget double over the last decade: financial discipline.

Now, in the wake of a new bipartisan budget agreement that restored many of the Pentagon’s most immediate “sequestration” cuts — including adding $32 billion over the next two years — budget hawks and defense reformers worry that much of the pressure to make difficult trade-offs over problem-plagued or ill-conceived weapons programs and bloated overhead will ease.

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