The nation's top military leadership publicly disagreed Thursday with President Carter's efforts to slash the 1981 defense budget, Monitor correspondent John Cooley reports.
Gen. David C. Jones, chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs, told the House Armed Services investigation subcommittee and the Joint Chiefs favored a $153.7 billion defense authorization proposal for fiscal 1981 that was approved by House and Senate budget conferees, but opposed by the administration as to high.
Other members of the Joint Chiefs also opposed the cuts, but had tempered their statements so as not to appear in opposition to "our commander in chief," President Carter, said the Air Force chief of staff, Gen. Lew Allen Jr.
A Defense Department spokesman, Thomas Ross, acknowledged that the Joint Chiefs had not seen a letter Defense Secretary Harold Brown wrote to a Senate committee criticizing the budget before the letter was sent. He recalled that the Joint Chiefs have in the past always urged higher defense spending than Congress approved. If they "felt they couldn't support the budget, they'd resign," Mr. Ross added.