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April 11, 2013

Hagel: Defense Budget Transitions Military Focus

by VOA News

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.