By Michael O'Brien
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) said Monday he wouldn't cut the defense budget if he's elected president.
Romney said he would be open to redirecting spending within the Pentagon's budget to ensure that it's more efficiently allocated and to eliminate waste, but he wouldn't cut the overall budget.
"I'm not going to cut the defense budget," Romney said in a question-and-answer session on his Facebook page.
The former Massachusetts governor acknowledged the defense budget contains "a lot of waste" and that "there's work that we have to do with the money that we have."
Ruling out defense cuts could put him at odds with some of his competitors for the Republican president nomination, such as Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, the fiscally hawkish former budget director in the Bush administration, who told The Hill last fall that defense cuts should be on the table.
President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a holdover from the Bush administration, have sought cuts to and savings within the defense budget, primarily through targeting waste and unnecessary projects.
A number of congressional Republicans have also signed onto limited defense budget reductions as part of their overall quest to reduce spending.
"There is no part of this government that should be sacred," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told NBC in January. "I believe there's room to find savings in the Department of Defense."