(NBC News) Defense Secretary Hagel is off to Norfolk today to explain billions in cuts he’s proposing for next year.
The cuts would shrink our military to its smallest size since world war two.
Pentagon leaders say with 13 years of war coming to an end and massive deficits, they have to make these cuts. The new goal – defending the homeland while fighting one war at a time.
The army would lose up to 80-thousand soldiers though special operations forces would grow.
The F-35 would replace slower, more expensive A-10s, drones would replace the cold war U-2 spy plane, and army training helicopters would be retired. “We must now adapt, innovate, and make difficult decisions to ensure that our military remains ready and capable,” said Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.
The military would have to use one-percent raises to help pay for housing and other subsidies being cut. “What we’re trying to do is solve our financial problems on the backs of our military. And that can’t be done,” said Rep. Buck McKeon, (R) California.
Governors are concerned about the impact on their National Guard. “It could weaken our abilities as commanders of our National Guard[,] especially during times of disasters,” said Governor Mary Fallin, (R) Oklahoma.
The Pentagon’s plan gets a stamp of approval from the White House.
One governor described the president’s tone as aggressive: “Don’t start coming in now complaining that these cuts are effecting you, because you said you wanted it. Now you’re going to get it,” said Governor Nikki Haley, (R) South Carolina.
MILitary families are concerned shrinking the force could make it harder to recruit. “It means they might not even want me as a pilot, which scares me because that’s what I want to do,” said Army Recruit, Sean Anderson.
The pentagon warns, if Congress renews the Sequester in 2016, expect even deeper cuts.