- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
- African leader cancels trip to U.S. over Ebola outbreak; Obama still plans summit
- Sarah Palin’s online channel hits snag when Stephen Colbert buys similar URL
- SWAT spends seven hours in standoff with empty home
- U.S. troops told not to eat, drink in front of Muslims during Ramadan
- Iran’s Rouhani: Israel, Islamic State are ‘tumors derived from the same origin’
- Rep. Tim Murphy: GOP knew HealthCare.gov would be an ‘unmitigated disaster’
- Political speak: Planned Parenthood dumps ‘pro-choice’ for ‘women’s health’
- U.S. attorney warns Cuomo not to interfere with anti-corruption probes
Hagel plans Pentagon cuts that would take Army to pre-WWII levels
Question of the Day
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Monday that the Army must shrink to pre-World War II troop levels to preserve funding for elite counterterrorism operations and maintain the cybersecurity programs needed to counter threats by emerging rivals such as China.
In the first major strategy proposal put forth by Mr. Hagel since he took over as the Obama administration’s defense boss a year ago, the former Republican senator outlined a wide-ranging restructuring of the Pentagon budget over the coming five years.
The changes represent the U.S. military’s attempts to come to terms with fiscal pressures felt across government.
At its core, Mr. Hagel’s plan would pave the way for the U.S. to begin in earnest a much-anticipated and long-term shift from the ground war footing and manpower-heavy troop buildups that have dominated so much of the nation’s military spending since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
With the proposal also arriving before the military pullout from Afghanistan, the White House is expected to put its full and formal weight behind the restructuring plan when it unveils its 2015 budget next week.
While the proposal drew almost immediate heat from conservative analysts and lawmakers, Mr. Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon that he and his advisers would push for “further reductions in troop strength and force structure in every military service — active and reserve — in order to sustain our readiness and technological superiority, and to protect critical capabilities like special operations forces and cyber resources.”
A list published Monday evening by The Associated Press framed the proposal along the following lines:
• The active-duty Army would shrink from 522,000 soldiers to 440,000 to 450,000 — the smallest number since 1940, when the nation was gearing up for World War II. The Army is scheduled to be reduced to 490,000 troops.
• The Marine Corps would shrink from 190,000 to 182,000.
• The Navy would keep its 11 aircraft carriers but “lay up,” or temporarily remove from active service, 11 of its 22 cruisers while they are modernized.
• The Air Force would retire its fleet of A-10 Warthog “tank-killer” planes for an estimated savings of $3.5 billion over five years. It also would retire the venerable U-2 spy plane.
Some analysts slammed the proposal out of the gate, calling it a stealth attempt by the administration to push forward deeper than needed cuts under the guise of a budget restructuring.
Steve Bucci, an analyst of national security issues at the Heritage Foundation, said Mr. Hagel’s proposal is loaded with “rhetorical smoke and mirrors” aimed at distracting from serious budget reductions.
“They have not said, ‘We are going to make these cuts to build this cyber capability,’” said Mr. Bucci. “They’ve said, ‘We’re going to make these cuts because this is all the money we’ve got.’”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Guy Taylor is the National Security Team Leader at The Washington Times, overseeing the paper’s State Department, Pentagon and intelligence community coverage. He’s also a frequent guest on The McLaughlin Group and C-SPAN.
His series on political, economic and security developments in Mexico won a 2012 Virginia Press Association award.
Prior to rejoining The Times in 2011, his work was ...
- Israel's ambassador praises Obama, slams Human Rights Watch report
- U.S. intelligence nearly certain pro-Russian separatists downed Malaysian Airlines flight
- U.S. scrambles as violence escalates in Israel-Hamas conflict
- MH17: Fear of ground-to-air missile strike becomes nightmare reality in Ukraine
- U.S., China to participate in unprecedented joint ground force exercise
Latest Blog Entries
Maggie Ybarra is military affairs and Pentagon correspondent for The Washington Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Obama: 'Not a new Cold War,' but new Russia sanctions announced
- Report: 40% of weapons sent to Afghanistan are unaccounted for
- Russia shipping sophisticated weapons systems to Ukraine separatists
- DoD fires 9 active-duty company commanders serving in Afghanistan
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
TWT Video Picks
By Ted Cruz
Israel saves its enemies; Hamas endangers its friends
- Al Gore's climate-changers at EPA hearings foiled by cool temperatures
- Geraldo Rivera: Matt Drudge 'doing his best to stir up a civil war'
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- GOP report sees ties between rich donors, green 'nonprofits'
- House votes to sue President Obama over claims of presidential power
- NAPOLITANO: Is the president incompetent or lawless?
- Lois Lerner hated conservatives, new emails show
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- EDITORIAL: The real Lois Lerner exposed in newly released emails
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world