Weldon also expects the Marine Corps' V-22 Osprey - a hybrid of a helicopter and a plane - to survive, though two of them crashed last year, killing 23 Marines. A Pentagon board said this spring that the Osprey needs more engineering work before a decision to begin full production is made.
Lawmakers are working to save weapons systems believed to be targeted by Rumsfeld, especially those made in their states.
Rep. J. C. Watts, a Republican from Oklahoma, where the Crusader is to be built if it survives the Rumsfeld review, is pressing the Pentagon to retain the howitzer, saying its precision firepower is needed to fight massed armies on the Korean Peninsula and elsewhere.
And Sen. Susan M. Collins, a Maine Republican, urged her colleagues last week to sign a "Dear Secretary Rumsfeld" letter to save the Navy's new destroyer, the DD-21. Bath Iron Works in Maine is one of the bidders in the project.
At the same time, Sen. John W. Warner, a Virginia Republican who is chairman of the Armed Services Committee, has warned the Pentagon not to cut back on aircraft carriers, which are built in Newport News, Va.
Navy officials have also pressed Rumsfeld's aides to retain the carriers. Some of those advisers dismiss the carrier as a relic that could easily be destroyed by short-range missiles, which possible U.S. adversaries such as China and Iran have built or obtained.
Adm. Vernon Clark, the chief of naval operations, also defended carriers in a speech last month. "These platforms are tough, with extensive defensive and offensive systems," he said. "They're mobile and fast. ... That presents a serious targeting problem."
Pentagon officials say that as a result of these efforts, the carriers appear to have survived the ax, at least for now.
Meanwhile, some of Rumsfeld's advisers are pressing for troop cuts. One proposal calls for a cut of 100,000 from the active-duty Army, the largest of the services at 480,000, and a cut of 70,000 from the Army National Guard and Army Reserve, which together total 550,000.
Some in the Army say those proposals are now dead, and a congressional aide said Guard reductions are politically unacceptable."[Lawmakers] care about the Guard. It's in every state," he said. Four years ago, Pentagon plans to cut 25,000 Guard troops were rejected in Congress.
But Weldon, the Pennsylvania Republican, said military personnel cuts are likely. Rumsfeld "is going to have to look at [troop] strength. I think he has no choice," Weldon said.
Andrew Krepinevich, a defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments who served on one of Rumsfeld's panels, agreed. "I think it's going to be very hard to do some of the things they want to do in space, on missile defense and in [military] transformation without force structure cuts," he said.
There have been reports that Rumsfeld will push for annual spending increases ranging from $20 billion to $35 billion to the Pentagon's projected $310 billion budget. Weldon and Krepinevich said they doubt that the president or Congress would go along with such large increases.
"We're not going to have big budget increases," said Weldon, who said voters are more interested in education, tax cuts and prescription drug benefits. "Every major poll shows defense dead last."