News / USA

Pentagon to Cut Workforce, Weapons Systems

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) listens as Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff General Martin Dempsey (R) speaks during a briefing on the Defense Department's FY2014 budget at the Pentagon, Apr. 10, 2013.U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) listens as Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff General Martin Dempsey (R) speaks during a briefing on the Defense Department's FY2014 budget at the Pentagon, Apr. 10, 2013.
x
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) listens as Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff General Martin Dempsey (R) speaks during a briefing on the Defense Department's FY2014 budget at the Pentagon, Apr. 10, 2013.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) listens as Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff General Martin Dempsey (R) speaks during a briefing on the Defense Department's FY2014 budget at the Pentagon, Apr. 10, 2013.
Luis Ramirez
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has unveiled a new budget that includes deep cuts in weapons programs, the civilian workforce and infrastructure.  
 
Only hours after President Barack Obama announced his budget plan, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel unveiled his own spending blueprint, which he says reflects a state of financial uncertainty for the Pentagon. 
 
Hagel said the new $526 billion spending plan for the next fiscal year will include cuts in the civilian workforce, poorly performing weapons systems, and possible base closings. 
 
“Fiscal realities demand that we make tough decisions that have been deferred in the past.  The longer we put this off, the harder it’s going to be, particularly given the uncertainty that still exists about future levels of defense spending," he said. 
 
With cuts that mean tens of thousands of lost jobs across the department and in areas where bases would be closed or consolidated, analysts say the plan is not likely to pass in Congress.  But they say it may provide the Pentagon leverage to break a budgetary impasse that exists between the Obama administration and Congress because it provides lawmakers a clear plan of direction. 
 
While cutting spending in some areas, the plan includes boosting expenditures in things like attack submarines and cyber security - both key components of the administration’s plan to rebalance its focus to the Asia-Pacific region. 
 
Some analysts warn the continuing news about money problems at the Pentagon are eroding American credibility overseas.
 
Travis Sharp is a defense analyst with the Center for a New American Security, a Washington research organization with ties to the Obama administration.
 
“I think the reductions in defense spending are going to make some of our allies and potential adversaries question whether or not we can actually do what we say we’re going to do," he said. 
 
The budget announcement came as tensions continue to rise on the Korean peninsula, where the U.S. and its allies are watching for an expected missile launch by the North Koreans. 
 
In his remarks Wednesday, Secretary Hagel said North Korea is “skating very close to a dangerous line” by continuing its threats.  He said Pyongyang should ratchet down its rhetoric, but added that if it does not, the U.S. is fully prepared to deal with “any contingency.”

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs