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WAR FIGHTERS, NOT BUREAUCRATS BEAR THE BRUNT OF CUTS
The NYT reports that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will today announce plans to slash the United States Army’s fighting force to its smallest level since before World War II as well as eliminating an entire class of attack aircraft, including the fearsome A-10. Obama officials say that the smaller fighting force reflects budget realities and an end to large-scale foreign wars. From the NYT: “Under Mr. Hagel’s proposals, the Army would drop over the coming years to between 440,000 and 450,000.” That’s down from post-9/11 high of 570,000. And that’s just the beginning. The WSJ reports that Hagel will also propose limits on pay raises for men and women in uniform as well as “higher fees for health-care benefits and less generous housing allowances to prune billions of dollars in benefits from the defense budget.” Critics are already furious, saying that the trimdown is an invitation to foes like Russia to expand their growing influence. But supposing that the time has come for deep military cuts, one wonders why it is trigger pullers who are again bearing the brunt.
[Majority now believes Obama not respected abroad - A new Gallup poll finds 53 percent of respondents believe President Obama is not respected on the world stage. “For the first time, more Americans think President Barack Obama is not respected by other world leaders than believe he is. Americans’ opinions have shifted dramatically in the past year, after being relatively stable from 2010 to 2013.”]
Whittled down - The proposed cuts to America’s fighting forces continue a trend in which the uniformed military gets less while civilian bureaucrats and contractors get more. In the past decade, the size of the Defense Department’s civilian component expanded significantly while the size of the uniformed military has actually decreased. Between 2003 and 2012, U.S. fighting forces shrank by more than 2 percent. The civilian workforce increased by 16 percent over the same period.