Pentagon proposes drastic cuts for U.S. military forces


WASHINGTON - The Pentagon proposed drastic cuts for U.S. military forces Monday.

Channel 9 has learned the budget plan would shrink the Army, close military bases and slash benefits for active-duty personnel.

Retired Marine Lieutenant Col. Dakota Wood said the decision will leave America vulnerable.

Wood has always believed in the old adage, better safe than sorry.

But he said the Pentagon’s five-year budget proposal that would shrink the Army by 6 percent to its smallest size since pre-World War II – would hurt military readiness.

“All of our intelligence assessments say the world is more dynamic and potentially more dangerous since any time before 2001,” Wood said.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said after 13 years of war, U.S forces must adjust to the reality of smaller budgets.

His proposal also calls for retiring an entire class of Air Force attack jets, more military base closures in 2017, and changes in military pay and benefits.

Hagel’s plan is already being met with opposition from Congress, House members on Homeland Security and armed services committees who said the world is not safer and cutting the military will hurt readiness.

Hagel acknowledges the changes mean assuming more risk, but said they include important investments to preserve a safe, secure, reliable and effective force.

Hagel outlined his vision in a speech at the Pentagon, a week before President Barack Obama is expected to submit his 2015 budget plan to Congress.