The battle over declining national security dollars is officially underway, and some parts of the federal security system will take a helping hand from wherever they can find one.
The reserve arm of the armed forces-not the Pentagon's top budget priority-got a boost Monday from what would normally be an odd ally: the director of the CIA. But this spook chief just happens to be the revered David Petraeus, the retired Army general who commanded American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Petraeus took an unexpected dip in the turbulent waters over shrinking Pentagon budgets. The retired U.S. military commander said he believes reserve units are well-suited for several missions, such as working with allied militaries and other "security cooperation" operations.
"I'm sure," Petraeus said at a conference in Washington for reserve members, "those kinds of things were considered as Pentagon officials compiled a new defense strategy and its 2013 budget request."
That spending plan will be the first to enact a decade-long, $350 billion funding reduction.
Was Petraeus firing a shot across the bow of Pentagon and White House officials? Or was his comment merely a public endorsement for his fellow soldiers?
Stay tuned for the answer. The budget games are only getting started.