Pentagon intends to cut 90,000 US troops
Jan 27, 2012, 12:17 GMT
A handout photograph released by the US Department of Defense (DOD) on 04 December 2010 showing US President Barack Obama addresses service members at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan on 03 December 2010. EPA/Staff Sgt. Michael L. Sparks /
Washington - The Pentagon on Thursday laid out plans to cut 70,000 Army troops and 20,000 Marines over the next five years in a major push to reduce military spending amid a federal budget crunch.
The active army will be resized to 490,000 troops, down from 562,000, in an effort to rein in spending after a decade of costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Marines Corps will see a resizing to 182,000 from 202,000.
At the same time, the Defense Department will request 525 billion dollars for its fiscal 2013 base budget, a savings of 6 billion dollars from 2012 that has already been approved by Congress, Defence Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters in Washington.
The Pentagon announcement reflects a new strategy, laid out earlier this month, of a leaner and meaner US military that is more technologically adept, and one that will focus on perceived threats from the rise of China. It also comes after Congress and the White House agreed last summer to slash 487 billion dollars from the military's overall budget over the next decade.
Panetta said slashing the budget to meet Congress' demands was 'tough' but that the cuts are being made with an eye on preventing Congress from taking an arbitrary 'meat axe' to the military.
Panetta listed a number of threats on the horizon, including a nuclear armed Iran, which represents a 'threat to us and to the world.' North Korea, which allegedly has nukes, also remains a threat. Turmoil in the Middle East and the ongoing fight against terrorism also remain concerns, he said.
But he re-iterated his claim earlier this month that the US military would retain its 'global dominance' despite the cuts, as well as its dominance as the world's leading ground force.
US Senator John McCain, a Republican and military hero from the Vietnam War, on Thursday blasted the Pentagon's new defence-cutting measures as repeating the 'mistakes of history.'
In a statement on his website, the 2008 presidential candidate said he is 'deeply concerned' that the cuts would 'leave our forces too small to respond effectively to events that may unfold over the next few years.'
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