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The Editors

Too Many Troops May Doom U.S. in Budget War

Blinking for the first time since budget sequestration went into effect last week, House Republicans want to restore $10 billion to a category of Defense Department spending that few Americans probably know exists: “operations and maintenance.” Budgeting wonks know better.

O&M, which includes everything from upkeep of military hardware to flight-simulator training to salaries for the department’s 800,000 civilians, is the biggest platter on the Pentagon budgetary buffet, at $209 billion for fiscal 2013. Pay and benefits for troops are second at $135 billion, while purchases of new weapons lag at $98 billion.