The U.S. Army is about to be downsized

Thursday, January 26, 2012 - 5:24pm

The U.S. Army is about to be downsized. If all goes according to what the Defense Department is proposing, they'll be 100,000 fewer troops in uniform five years from now.

The Army would shrink by 80,000 soldiers, the Marine Corps by 20,000.

"The military will be smaller and leaner but it will be agile flexible, rapidly deployable, and technologically advanced. It will be a cutting edge force," promises Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

Under orders to cut costs at the Pentagon to help reduce the deficit, Defense Secretary Panetta will slash $260 billion in projected defense spending over the next five years.

The plan will reduce not only the numbers in uniform, but also the number of bases.

That means another round of base-realignment committee hearings before Congress.

Panetta's also proposing to get rid of six fighter-jet squadrons, retire seven Navy cruisers early and do away with several other warships as well.

The plan will increase the spending on cyber warfare capabilities, while leaving military pay and benefits alone.

"I want to make clear that cuts and spending will not fall on the shoulders of our troops. There are no proposed freezes or reductions in pay," said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey.

Panetta says troop withdrawal from Iraq and the start of a drawdown in Afghanistan offer new opportunities to scale back defense spending.

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