Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is expected to announce a plan Monday to shrink the U.S. Army to its smallest size since before World War II, getting rid of entire class of Air Force jets in the process.
This new Pentagon budget has been described as the first to aggressively downsize the military since 9/11, the New York Times reported Sunday.
“We’re still going to have a very significant-sized Army,” a senior Pentagon official told the Times. “But it’s going to be agile. It will be capable. It will be modern. It will be trained.”
After the downsize, the military will remain the most capable in the world, but it will be too small to launch long-term foreign occupations like that of Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, if two large-scale wars of their kind were carried out again in unison it would carry greater risk. President Barack Obama promised to bring both wars to a close.
"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," the official said.
The proposal also scraps the entire fleet of Air Force A-10 attack aircraft designed to destroy Soviet tanks, but does include funding for the extremely expensive F-25 warplane.
Despite some resistance expected in Congress, Hagel’s proposals are endorsed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.