The most striking part of Obama’s proposed $526.6 defense budget request is that it fails to acknowledge the prospect that sequestration will remain in effect beyond this year. As such, analysts warned, it’s little more than a starting point for what is likely to be a protracted and heated negotiation. Travis Sharp, a fellow with the Center for a New American Security, called it a “placebo, a placeholder with no effect.” The proposed budget calls for a small decrease in overall spending, projecting cuts to the military’s expensive health-care system and some costly weapons programs. The Pentagon said the budget is in line with White House priorities, including a robust focus on the Asia-Pacific region and greater investment in cyber security. “Even while restructuring the force to become smaller and leaner and once again targeting overhead savings, this budget made important investments in the president’s new strategic guidance,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a written statement issued today.