United States Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, has presented an aggressive plan to downsize the Army and Marines to the size of the military before WWII. These changes will affect the 2015 fiscal budget and save the government money, but is it safe?
The New York Times reports that Hagel “plans to shrink the United States Army to its smallest force since before the World War II buildup and eliminate an entire class of Air Force attack jets in a new spending proposal that officials describe as the first Pentagon budget to aggressively push the military off the war footing adopted after the terror attacks of 2001.”
The Department of Defense shows in a graph that in 2011, the military had 566,000 active duty military personnel. Hagel wants to downsize to 440,000 or 450,000. This could be a good and smart move for the United States, but also a bad idea.
The New York Times also reports, “ The proposed budget would impose a one-year salary freeze for general and flag officers; basic pay for military personnel would rise by one percent. After the 2015 fiscal year, raises in pay will be similarly restrained, Pentagon officials say.” The decreased budget would decrease the amount given to soldiers in tax free living and raise the price of items at commissaries, which are grocery stores on military bases. “The budget also proposes an increase in health insurance deductibles and some co-pays for some military retirees and for some family members of active servicemen. But Mr. Hagel’s proposals do not include any changes to retirement benefits for those currently serving.”
The military has seen budget cuts before, one just a few years ago. From the perspective of a member of a military family, this is not a good idea. It is important for the United States to have a large well- trained and well-supplied military especially with all that’s been going on in North Korea and other places.
Governors from a few different states have spoken up asking to please not cut the National Guard and Reserves. Governor O’Malley from Connecticut told CNS News that he was going to speak to President Obama about his concerns with this plan.