Pentagon Chief to Shrink US Army to Pre-WWII Level
   2014-02-25 09:05:08    Xinhua      Web Editor: Wang

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (2nd R) and Martin Dempsey (1st R), chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, attend a press conference at the Pentagon, Washington D.C., the United States, Feb. 24, 2014. U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel outlined on Monday his priorities for 2015 defense budget cut, including plans to reduce the size of the U.S. army to its pre-World War II levels. [Photo: Xinhua/Yin Bogu]


  

The man in-charge of the US military budget is proposing cuts to reduce the size of the US Army to its smallest level in some 70-years.

CRI's Washington correspondent Xiaohong has the details.

Report: U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has announced plans to slash some 70-thousand troops from the active roster over the next five years.

This will downsize the Army to some 440 to 450-thousand by 2019, making it the smallest U.S. Army since 1940.

Announcing the proposed budget plan, Hagel says the moves are needed to fit with today's modern reailty.

"As consequences of large budget cuts, our future force will assume additional risks in certain areas. In crafting this package, we prioritize DOD's strategic interest and match them to budget resources. This requires a series of difficult choices."

The Defense Department also plans to retire its A-10 attack jet fleet and U-2 spy plane.

The Pentagon also plans to reduce the construction of the Navy's new Littoral Combat Ships from 52 to 32.

In announcing the proposed cuts, Hagel says the Pentagon is repositioning itself to focus on strategic challenges and opportunities that will define the future.

"To fulfill the strategy, DOD will continue to shift its operational focus and forces to the Asia-Pacific, sustain commitments to key allies, partners in the Middle-East and Europe, maintaining engagement in other regions. And continue to aggressively pursuit global terrorist networks."

The proposed budget will be sent to Congress next month as part of President Obama's proposed budget for the fiscal year 2015 that begins in October.

It's widely expected the new proposals are going to create a lot of political theatre on Capitol Hill as lawmakers prepare to head into the midterm elections in November.

Xiaohong, CRI, Washington.

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