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March 04, 2014 AT 3:22 AM
Concerns that cuts in defense spending could erode the U.S. military's technological edge over rivals such as Russia and China are in part driving the Pentagon's plans to slash troop levels and retire aging weapons. U.S. defense officials have watched in recent years as Moscow and Beijing have tested a string of sophisticated weapons, from radar-evading aircraft and anti-ship missiles that fly many times the speed of sound, to integrated air defenses. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will unveil a 2015 budget on Tuesday that includes cutting the Army by 40,000 to 50,000 troops to levels last seen before the United States entered World War Two.