UPDATED: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Recommends Deep Cuts in 2015 Budget

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WASHINGTON (CNN) — A scaled-back, modern U.S. military would cut the Army to its pre-World War II size and do away with the A-10 “Warthog” attack jet, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will say Monday in proposing a new budget to reflect the end of America’s longest war.

“After Iraq and Afghanistan, we are no longer sizing the military to conduct long and large stability operations,” Hagel will say in announcing his 2015 Defense Department budget plan, according to advance text released by the Pentagon.

Downsizing due to modernization and budget constraints began under Hagel’s predecessor, Robert Gates, and the proposal described Monday began a new phase of the change.

“As we end our combat mission in Afghanistan, this will be the first budget to fully reflect the transition DoD is making after 13 years of war — the longest conflict in our nation’s history,” Hagel says in the advance text.

The former Republican senator from Nebraska describes a military capable of fighting on one war front and maintaining effective defenses for a second while shifting to a more tactical capability.

“Our analysis showed that this force would be capable of decisively defeating aggression in one major combat theater — as it must be — while also defending the homeland and supporting air and naval forces engaged in another theater against an adversary,” he says.

Hagel acknowledges the changes mean assuming more risk, but he says the military would better situated to respond to the evolving security challenges facing the country.

“We must maintain our technological edge over potential adversaries,” he says, adding that “the military must be ready and capable to respond quickly to all contingencies and decisively defeat any opponent should deterrence fail.”

The recommendations in the budget plan for 2015 and ensuing years “favor a smaller and more capable force — putting a premium on rapidly deployable, self-sustaining platforms that can defeat more technologically advanced adversaries,” Hagel says, adding that they also include “important investments to preserve a safe, secure, reliable, and effective nuclear force.”

In the proposal, Hagel calls for cutting the Army to a level of 440,000 to 450,000 troops, which would be the lowest level in more than 70 years. At its height, the Army had 570,000 troops after the September 11,2001, terrorist attacks.

According to Hagel, the budget proposal protects funding for cyberwarfare and special operations, and preserves funding for the controversial and costly F-35 fighter jet.

His plan would retire the A-10, which Hagel called a 40-year-old, single purpose aircraft, at a cost savings of $3.5 billion over five years.

The proposed cuts are certain to come under sharp criticism in Congress, especially from legislators with large military bases or contractors in their states and districts.

Republican hawks have battled the military force reductions that are part of President Barack Obama’s attempts to reduce defense spending as part of overall deficit reduction.

Hagel warns that if Congress fails to eliminate planned across-the-board spending cuts in future years, the military reductions will be on a greater scale.

Some of those forced cuts, known as sequestration, were eased for this year and next under the budget deal worked out by Congress in December.

Details of Hagel’s proposal were first reported by the New York Times.

TM & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


  • Vergent Bill

    “In addition to reduced housing allowances, the recommendations would slash the subsidies for commissaries that provide groceries to veterans, service members, and their families at reduced cost.”

    Let them eat cockroaches.

    • Ken Williamson

      Our Generals care most about their defense jobs after retirement and less about keeping promises and genuinely caring for our soldiers. The obvious budget cut, cut the number of flag grade officers in half!

  • Skillpot

    “… the recommendations would slash the subsidies for commissaries that provide groceries to veterans, service members, and their families at reduced cost.”

    My shopping experience at the RSA Com. has been limited because most items available are higher than off post! So, who is pocketing the difference, if there are “reduced cost?” I have never purchased gas there because it is always cheaper off post!

    Now, I agree that the housing allowance should be based upon location, but at an amount consistent with, and above the poverty level!

    Cuts, if any, in Corporate America, who benefit most from the items constructed for the benefit of stockholders, rather than for what is needed!

  • Shirl

    A bit confused if this means across the board civilian and military or what. I’m ok with cuts in the civilian side of the defense workforce as they need adjustment but NOT the military personnel!

    • Allison

      I am sorry, as a Disabled Veteran, as a Military civilian, as a Single Parent, we have taken hit after hit after hit the last three years as military have gotten pay raises, doing the same job as my counter parts. I do feel bad for what is going on and I am sure we will be on the chopping block as well. We still are because I am watching many of my coworkers lose jobs while the military are safe. Please think about your words.

      • baby2014

        Yes that may be true but many of those soldiers are on food stamps and can barely make it. How often does your salary cause you to seek extra assistance?!

      • Wake Up

        baby2014, for millions of low wage Americans that is an everyday occurrance! Food stamps and other government assistance has subsidized low wage employers for decades.

    • Sammy

      Chuck Hagel is a Republican. If he did not like this budget proposal he could resign in protest. He will not because even most Republicans know these cuts are necessary.

      • bill

        Sammy, Wakeup, why so many user names? Mr. Hagel is a puppet , for Barry Obama, Wake up and smell the TEA. The more policy moves Barry makes like this , the more likely the republicans are,to take over the senate. Barry and Valerie are on an Alinsky roll.

  • Bill

    He’s barking up the WRONG tree on this one!!!!!! How dare you attack the very people who have put their lives on the line for this country???? AMERICA……..STAND-UP for OUR military!!!!!
    Why don’t they take cuts to the Energy Department that was set up to REDUCE FUEL COST and has thousands of personnel on their books. They have yet to do anything about fuel cost. They are NON PRODUCERS!!!!!!
    Let’s cut some of the CZARS out of the Presidents staff….what do they really do??????

    Signed 30 year military veteran.

    • Wake Up

      Welcome to the “new” military, not the military of 30 years ago! The new military will be full of the great technology developed by the researchers in Huntsville that will replace the human warfighter. This is a good thing. Future wars will have fewer human deaths (at least on our side) as technology fights our wars. Like other groups that have been displaced by technology — many in the military today will have to find other jobs.

      • Wake Up

        Oh, and another point. I am also a veteran. When I was an Explosive Ordnance Disposal specialist back in the 1980s we did not have robots. My unit received its first bomb suit the year I left the military. Both of those technologies have made EOD a lot safer. Those technologies saved many EOD lives in the years after my time. I would not want the military to stay as it was in my time! I embrace the future, not harken back to some time in the past!

      • scott

        “NEW MILITARY”, Barry Obamas dog whistle for CBS,MSNBC, New York Times ,and others in the FAR LEFT Democrat party.

      • alafan2010

        When there are no body bags or soldiers coming home missing limbs or brain damaged I will see your point.This sir is not the past it is today. Until then the military deserves everything possible. And no I am not a veteran. I was in the Army reserves and can only imagine the hardships if my unit had been activate.

      • alafan2010

        Oh, another point. I have to assume you a defense contractor with your technical knowledge of the NEW Military. How much more do you make to sit on your a$$ Than that private that is still being shot at ?

      • Wake Up

        alafan2010, there were far fewer body bags from the recent war than wars of the past. The reason that we have so many wounded warriors today is because the technological advances kept them from being killed. Future wars will take more steps limiting even those wounded that you speak of in your post.

      • Steve Kaikkonen

        Wake up, what piece of technology is going to scale rock and mountains, goat trails or jungle? All of the battles now are going to be in places where all of our technology is useless. What then?

  • Roger

    I dated a 1st Lt in Seoul, Korea and her housing allowance was $3600 per month. Had a large apartment overlooking the Han River, within walking distance to Yongsan Garrison. It seemed a bit extravagant for an O2.

  • Nuclear Mike

    “The Pentagon plans a large cut in U.S. Army troops and wants to do away with an entire class of Air Force attack jets in an attempt to cut military spending, according to news reports.”

    Huntsville…our “bubble” has burst and now try to sell a house or start a new business here as the free cahs spending is over…

    • Ken Williamson

      It is less likely to hurt Huntsville as we are mostly in the business of high tech defense doodads rather than fighting soldiers. I feel so sorry for our retirees who depend on the commissary, now taken from them to fund the F35 and such.

  • Trac Sala

    Everybody was screaming cuts. Be careful what you wish for. Huntsville is already being impacted. Talk to your defense contractor neighbor. Snip, Snip, Snip to the contracts. Less is more, the new norm.

  • mamac

    I ain’t even going to read this story…Blah!blah!blah! same old thing. Our wonderful government. Well if obama kids where serving (and that would be a laugh) he wouldn’t would cut NOTHING obama would add to.Same old crap.What’s going to happen is the Military is going to have so many cuts in it,that it want be able to fend this country much less the lives of our military men and women.CUT THE PRESIDENTS SALARY heck just give all the presidents salary back to the USA people and the military. He earned what was it like 2 years ago his earnings where like 11 MILLION so why does the president want his salary from the working people oh I know cause he wants more more more…And forget what the president can do for the people but what the people can do for the president …Our country needs help in the WORST WAY….

  • Wildmanrob

    Hagel wants to cut $$$ to the troops, yet we are going to start spending $135 million a piece for 2,500 F-35s. Instead we could just buy new F-16 Block 70’s and F/A-18 Super hornets for $60 million a piece. Thats close to $200 BILLION in savings.

  • Wake Up

    Bernie Sanders (I VT) and the Democrats will bring a bill forward that will provide $21 billion over the next ten years for veteran support. The Republicans (lead by Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina) are already saying that they do not support the Democrat’s veteran support legislation. People need to take a real look at how your representatives vote. You will be surprised to find out who really supports the military and who does not! Follow the votes!

  • bill

    Bernie Sanders, Vermont , this guy is a Far Left Winger, Sammy, wake up, please tell me you checked his voting record , before you through his name out as being fair mined . If people will look at his voting record ,they can see why his guy is an MSNBC regular . he and Chris (theres a tingle down my leg) Matthews , talk the same old tired far left garbage all the time.

  • ErvinandJennie Grandsport

    When you vote in anyone from the Socialist Democratic Party this is what you get. Instead of cutting welfare, illegal aliens health care, illegal and fraudulent disability claims, fibulas law suits, etc. they’ll cut the throats of our US forces so we can be attacked and defeated at any time. So I say to the 62M who voted Obama in twice, still like this dirtball and are you still voting socialist. The only hope for this country is for the Republicans and this does not include the RINOS to take over the congress, senate and the Whitehouse in 2016 and keep it for eight years nullify every EO Obama every crated and make EO that are for the good of ALL not just the “SPECIAL” people.

    • steevshirley

      If the Republicans would kick out the Tea Party and the old farts like the ones running the party in Alabama they could take over Congress If they don’t they will lose again. America had rather have socialist than Nazis.

    • steevshirley

      I do not like the cuts either but the Tea Party will keep the republicans from gaining control of congress and the White House. You have to remember the rest of the country thinks like Alabama.

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