The debt deal passed by the House last night and taken up by the Senate today could slash the Pentagon's budget by $550 billion over 10 years, reports The New York Times. Additionally, if legislators fail to specify cuts in other areas of federal spending (such as social security or farm subsidies) "a second round of almost $500 billion in cuts could take effect" reports Reuters. Still, The Times notes that the Pentagon cuts were "sufficiently back-loaded to entice Republicans to sign on." Expressing reluctance, Rep. Howard McKeon, the Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said he disagrees with the spending cuts but supported the bill because it was "the least bad proposal before us." Getting down to specifics, the bill caps national security spending at $684 billion in 2012 (for a reference, this year $689 billion was spent). Departments under the national security umbrella include the Pentagon, State Department, Homeland Security, intelligence, and part of Veterans Affairs. "What is not yet known about the reduced total of $684 billion in security spending for 2012," reports The Times, "is whether Congress will hit the Pentagon with the entire $5 billion cut." A professor at American University tells the newspaper "This is political kabuki. We really don't have anything hard to get our arms around."