For your defense budget files, from yesterday's Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing for Gen. Dempsey:
SEN. MCCAIN: Which brings me again full circle. We have announced cuts without a commensurate assessment of the impact of those cuts. And in your view, a -- what would an 800- (billion dollar) to trillion-dollar cut in defense spending over the next 10 years do to our readiness, General?
GEN. DEMPSEY: Senator, I haven't been asked to look at that number, but I have looked -- and we are looking at 400 (billion dollars) -- and I would react in this way. Based on the difficulty of achieving the $400 billion cut, I believe 800 (billion dollars) would be extraordinarily difficult and very high-risk.
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.