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2 SENATORS PROPOSE DEEPER DEFENSE CUTS

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Two Republican senators proposed doubling the defense cuts recommended by the administration and outlined a program to kill or curtail a variety of expensive weapons like the B-2 stealth bomber.

Sens. William Cohen of Maine and John McCain of Arizona, both members of the Armed Services Committee, joined in a proposal Thursday for post-inflation cuts in defense spending of 4 percent a year, rather than the 2 percent suggested by the administration.Airing their proposals at a news conference, they said this additional reduction would put fiscal 1995 defense spending about $50 billion under the $303 billion proposed for fiscal 1991. An extra 2 percent in 1991 would be about $6 billion under the $303 billion in spending now proposed.

"We have to recognize the emerging realities, both military and political, and we have to reshape our defense structure," said Cohen, adding that it must be "in a way that will support our three basic goals" of deterring nuclear war, keeping Moscow from dominating the Eurasian land mass and maintaining open access to the seas.

Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., Armed Services Committee chairman, praised the Cohen-McCain proposal, saying: "It's a very good report. They have pointed out a number of areas of change. I think the debate on strategy is certainly furthered by their report.'

Nunn, however, differed with them on the need for the B-2 stealth bomber, saying he still favors it. But he sent a warning to Northrop, the plane's builder, saying that "the cost has to come down."

Defense Secretary Dick Cheney said the budget he submitted was "the right one," but he said the Pentagon will study the Cohen-McCain idea. He also said it would be a "mistake" to abandon land-based missiles as McCain proposed.

Both Cohen and McCain said the administration and Congress so far had failed to provide a national security strategy - Congress, in part, because consensus does not come until late in the process, and Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, in part, because he has to hold a huge bureaucracy together and wants to prevent budget "freefall."

The two had slight differences on major systems, with Cohen preferring to kill off the B-2 stealth bomber and McCain leaning toward building some, although he said he might be persuaded to eliminate the bomber.

Cohen also preferred to junk the rail-mobile MX missile and build the one-warhead Midgetman, while McCain said he wanted to get away from land-based missiles entirely, reducing the "triad" of sea, air and land forces to a "diad" of bombers and submarines.