Debt forcing defense cuts, but where?

By DONNA CASSATA | October 12, 2011 | 4:40 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — With a nation deep in debt and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, the military knows it's in for painful spending cuts.

But where?

One potential target is the troubled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the next generation, supersonic aircraft for the Air Force, Marines and Navy. It's the biggest weapon procurement program for the Pentagon at a cost of $238 billion. But the aircraft has been behind schedule and over budget.

Still, the aircraft has a daunting constituency: some 130,000 jobs in 47 states and Puerto Rico and scores of Republican and Democratic friends in Congress. The manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, has 1,300 domestic suppliers.