U.S. Defense secretary announces billions in budget cuts.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates staged a pre-emptive attack Thursday in…

Defense Secretary Robert Gates staged a pre-emptive attack Thursday in Washington’s looming budget battles, announcing cuts of $78 billion to the U.S. military and defense department, including reducing the size of the Army and Marine Corps.
In addition, Gates said the Army, Navy and Air Force had found $100 billion of savings that they would retain, allowing them to continue developing major weapons and modernizing their forces over the next five years.

“These reform efforts, followed through to completion, will make it possible to protect the U.S. military’s size, reach and fighting strength despite a declining rate of growth and eventual flattening of the defense budget over the next five years,” Gates said at the start of a lengthy opening statement at the Pentagon.

Under the Gates plan, the Marine Corps would slash 15,000 to 20,000 people, a 10% reduction. The Army would shrink by 27,000 active duty personnel, 4% cut, on top of an already planned reduction of 22,000 — for a total of 49,000 fewer soldiers.

The smaller fighting force won’t take effect until 2015, to coincide with the scheduled handover of security to local forces in Afghanistan.

Source: CNN

Load Comments