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Hagel: Defense Budget Transitions Military Focus

  • VOA News

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff General Martin Dempsey (R) speak during a briefing on the Defense Department's FY2014 budget at the Pentagon in Washington, April 10, 2013.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff General Martin Dempsey (R) speak during a briefing on the Defense Department's FY2014 budget at the Pentagon in Washington, April 10, 2013.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said President Barack Obama's budget helps press ahead with a transition from a "counterinsurgency-focused force" to one capable of carrying out a "full range of operations across the globe."

Hagel testified at a House of Representatives Armed Services Committee hearing on the defense budget Thursday. He said the proposed defense budget will protect the administration's priorities in Asia through moves including a redeployment of Marine units to Australia. He also said the budget protects against increased cyber-security threats.

Hagel said the budget proposes a smaller pay increase for troops, an increase in health-care patient fees, and funding for base closures that will save the military money in the long term - proposals that are unpopular with many members of Congress. He said these cuts are necessary to keep important long-term benefits without dramatically reducing the "size or readiness of the force."

U.S. President Barack Obama has proposed a $3.77 trillion federal budget for 2014 that he said is "a fiscally responsible blueprint for middle-class jobs and growth."

His budget plan intends to reduce the deficit by nearly $2 trillion during the next decade, through a combination of new revenues and budget cuts It includes a minimum 30 percent tax on people making $1 million or more a year.
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