On Monday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is expected to release his proposal for severe cuts in the nation’s military, which will leave the U.S. Army with its smallest force since World War II. The cuts are expected to include the removal of the entire fleet of Air Force A-10 attack jets, reduce the U.S. Army from 490,000 troops to between 440,000 to 450,000, impose a one-year freeze on the salaries of general and flag officers; limit the increase of basic pay for military personnel to 1 percent, retard the growth of tax-free housing allowances for military personnel, and reduce the $1.4 billion direct subsidy which is given to military commissaries in order to lower the prices for soldiers. Eleven navy cruisers will be sent into reduced operating status. Some military retirees will see an increase in health insurance deductibles and co-pays.
All of these plans are derived from Barack Obama’s determination to backtrack from the war footing adopted after the 9/11 2001 terror attacks. Pentagon officials admit that the traditional American posture of being capable to fight wars on more than one front has been softened so that if such an occasion occurred, success would take more time, there would be more casualties, and enemies would be emboldened.
One senior pentagon official said, “You have to always keep your institution prepared, but you can’t carry a large land-war Defense Department when there is no large land war.” Other officials added that the plan is designed to follow Obama’s national security directives.
Opposition is expected from some members of Congress, the National Guard Association, veterans’ organizations, and defense-industry officials.