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

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jane Monheit Christmas Speciali
X
December 22, 2014 8:15 PM
Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Trade Talks Could Heat Up in 2015

With boosting trade a top priority for the Obama administration, 2015 may be the year that an agreement is finally reached on the Trans Pacific Partnership. But the trade deal, which is intended to boost trade between 12 Pacific countries, faces opposition as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school

All About America

AppleAndroid