News / USA

Pentagon Warns of Tough Trade-offs as Budget Cuts Loom

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon, in Arlington, Virginia, July 31, 2013.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon, in Arlington, Virginia, July 31, 2013.
Luis Ramirez
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says automatic government spending cuts, if they continue, will force the Pentagon to reduce its forces by tens of thousands of troops or cancel plans to develop and buy new weapons.  

The U.S. defense budget already is being cut by $46 billion this year under the automatic cuts known as sequestration. If the cuts continue, the Pentagon will have to cut $500 billion in the next 10 years.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said a review he ordered on the effects of the cuts shows the reductions will inevitably hurt the U.S. military's readiness.

“The review showed that the in-between budget scenario we evaluated would bend our defense strategy in important ways and sequester level cuts would break some parts of the strategy, no matter how the cuts were made," said Hagel.

He said the cuts would mean the armed forces would have fewer options at their disposal for defending U.S. interests and require the Pentagon to make a devastating choice.  

“The basic trade-off is between capacity measured in the number of army brigades, navy ships, air force squadrons, and marine battalions and capability - our ability to modernize weapons systems and maintain our military's technological edge," he said.

Under the scenario that Hagel presented, the U.S. military would have to get rid of up to three of its 11 aircraft carriers and reduce the size of the Army to as low as 380,000 troops from a recent wartime high of 570,000.  The Marines would see reductions to as few as 150,000 from a wartime high of 205,000.

The carrier numbers and troop levels would be the lowest since the drawdown that followed World War II.

Hagel's message was indirectly meant for Congress, which remains locked in a budget dispute with the Obama administration.  The failure of both sides to reach an agreement on the federal budget resulted in the implementation of those automatic cuts.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters 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