The Pentagon is preparing to tighten its belt, but with an election-year battle looming in Congress, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta wants to stress the positive. He's emphasizing that some key parts of the budget will actually grow.

That's a point of emphasis for the administration as it tries to tamp down talk of weakening the military.

But it's unlikely to mollify Republicans. They say President Barack Obama's plan will leave the Pentagon stretched too thin to handle potential security threats in the Middle East, Asia and beyond.

Panetta is expected to outline at a Pentagon news conference Thursday the main areas of proposed spending cuts and increases.

The 2013 defense spending request, expected to total about $525 billion, is scheduled to be submitted to Congress on Feb. 13.


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