Pentagon chief proposes budget cuts and reduction of US troops

Pentagon

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel outlined on
Monday his priorities for a 2015 defense budget cut, including plans to reduce the
size of the U.S. army to its pre-World War II levels.

“We are repositioning to focus on the strategic challenges and opportunities that will
define our future: new technologies, new centers of power and a world that is
growing more volatile, more unpredictable and in some instances more threatening to
the United States,” Hagel said at a Pentagon press conference.

The Pentagon chief unveiled his budget-cut proposals as the Obama administration is
preparing to pull out most U.S. troops from Afghanistan following an almost 13-year
war.

“As we end our combat mission in Afghanistan, this will be the first budget to fully
reflect the transition DOD (the Department of Defense) is making after 13 years of
war, the longest conflict in our nation’s history,” said Hagel.

Among the proposals, Hagel announced his plans to further reduce the size of U.S.
Army to between 440,000 to 450,000 active- duty soldiers. This would mark the U.S.
Army’s smallest force since World War II. The active-duty troop level has already
been slated to go down to 490,000 by 2015 from a peak of 570,000 after Sept. 11
attacks, 2001.

Hagel’s proposals also include to retire the U.S. Air Force’s entire A-10 fleet and to
seek another round of base realignment and closure.

Hagel said the recommendations favor “a smaller and more capable force, putting a
premium on rapidly deployable, self-sustaining platforms that can defeat more
technologically advanced adversaries.”

“They’re also well-suited to the strategy’s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, to
sustaining security commitments in the Middle East and Europe, and our engagement
in other regions,” he added.

Source: Xinhua

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