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Future military base realignments and closures are in the Pentagon’s plans to cope with reduced funding, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Thursday.

Panetta outlined a budget plan that calls for a $487 billion decrease in projected spending during the next 10 years. The first five years of the plan were discussed in detail during the meeting, which Panetta said could potentially save the country $259 billion, according to The Washington Post.

The Post reported that President Barack Obama will ask Congress to approve the new round of domestic base closures, but said the timing of this was left vague and speculated that there is little chance that lawmakers would agree to this in a presidential election year.

Decisions about base realignment and closure in 1991 and 1993 led to significant expansion of work at Patuxent River Naval Air Station. But any talk about a new BRAC raises anxiety and uncertainty for communities that host military facilties. The last round of base closures was approved by Congress in 2005.

An article from the American Forces Press Service posted on the Pentagon’s website Thursday said that under Panetta’s budget proposal production of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter would also slow, through a lengthier testing phase. Much of that testing is being done at Pax River.

Panetta said that service members would still receive full pay raises in fiscal 2013 and 2014, according to the American Forces Press Service.

“We will achieve some cost savings by providing more limited pay raises beginning in 2015,” he added.

JESSICA GOOLSBY