Pentagon's Plan: Cut Army to Pre-WWII Level

Hagel budget moves military off 'war footing'

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 24, 2014 3:03 AM CST

(Newser) – The US Army may soon shrink to a level not seen since before it geared up to fight Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan simultaneously. In a spending proposal to be unveiled today, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel outlines plans to cut the Army to around 450,000 soldiers, its lowest level since 1940, and eliminate an entire class of Air Force attack jets, officials tell the New York Times. Insiders describe the budget as the first to try to move the military off its post-9/11 war footing.

Officials say the deep cuts will leave the US with a military still capable of beating any adversary—but not ready for any long-term foreign occupations. The budget, which is certain to face stiff opposition from defense organizations and some members of Congress, also contains billions of dollars in savings to be made by limiting pay raises and housing allowances, charging higher fees for certain health care benefits, and trimming subsidies for the commissaries that sell discounted goods to military families, the Wall Street Journal finds.

US soldiers line up to meet Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel before he departs from Kabul International Airport in Afghanistan last year.   (AP Photo/Mark Wilson, Pool)
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You have to always keep your institution prepared, but you can’t carry a large land-war Defense Department when there is no large land war. - A senior US official

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