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article imageU.S. to downsize army as cost-cutting measure

By Karen Graham     Feb 24, 2014 in Politics
War is costly, not only in human lives lost, but to a nation. With the withdrawal of our forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military is under ordered budget cuts, making it an impossibility to retain many of those soldiers.
Gen. Ray Odierno, U.S. army chief-of-staff announced plans on Monday that are the broadest organizational change for the U.S. Army since WWII. The five-year plan will eliminate combat forces from 10 military bases across the country as well as reduce the number of personnel by 80,000 soldiers.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has outlined his 2015 budget, and the downsizing of the military to 440,000 from a post-9/11 attacks peak will shrink the country's army to its smallest size since WWII. Part of the budget will eliminate an entire class of Air Force attack jets.
Pentagon press secretary Navy Rear Admiral John Kirby told the Associated Press That in facing the realities of the times, "We must be pragmatic, we can't escape tough choices. He and the [military service] chiefs are willing to make those choices." According to the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Hagel also plans to recommend reductions in housing allowances and other benefits, as well as limiting pay raises and raising healthcare premiums.
While the plan has the endorsement of the Pentagon's Joint Chiefs of Staff, it is expected that Congress will show some opposition. But in reality, the plan is part of the 2011 Budget Control Act, requiring the military to cut $487 billion in spending over a decade. The plan also has the backing of President Barack Obama, who pledged to end the land wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"You have to always keep your institution prepared, but you can't carry a large land-war defence department when there is no large land war," one senior Pentagon official told the New York Times.
While the United States is reducing military forces and defense spending, China and Japan have increased their defense spending, in part, because of continuing antagonism over territorial disputes. Russia has told the world they too have plans to increase their military to protect their rights to the Arctic.
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