WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon outlined a plan Thursday for slowing the growth of military spending, including cutting the size of the Army and Marine Corps, retiring older planes and trimming war costs.
The Army would shrink from a peak of 570,000 to 490,000 within five years, and the Marines would drop by 20,000, to 182,000. Those are considerable declines, but both services will still be slightly larger than on 9/11, before they began a decade of war. Both will keep their footholds abroad, although the Army will decrease its presence in Europe and the Marines plan to increase theirs in Asia.
Panetta said the administration will ask Congress for $525 billion to run the Pentagon in 2013 — $6 billion less than the current budget. War costs, which are not considered part of the base budget, would decline from $115 billion to $88 billion, reflecting the completion of the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.
The plan Panetta presented Thursday covers the first five years of that span and would cut a cumulative total of $259 billion in planned spending.
In a bid to pre-empt election-year Republican criticism, Panetta said the plan begins to shift the Pentagon's focus from the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to future challenges in Asia, the Mideast and in cyberspace. More special operations forces like the Navy SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden will be available around the world, he said, and the Pentagon will stress improvements in cyberdefenses.
Among other details Panetta disclosed:
--The Air Force would retire some older planes including about two dozen C-5A cargo aircraft and 65 of its oldest C-130 cargo planes.
-- The Navy would keep a fleet of 11 aircraft carriers but retire seven cruisers earlier than planned. It also would delay purchase of some other ships, including a new Virginia-class submarine.
--Purchase of F-35 stealth fighter jets, to be fielded by the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, would be slowed.
--Current plans for building a new generation of submarines that carry long-range nuclear missiles would be delayed by two years. The current fleet of nuclear-capable bombers and land-based nuclear missiles would be left unchanged.
--Military pay raises will remain on track until 2015, when the pace of increase will be slowed by an undetermined amount.....snip~
Why should we be providing more Special Operations Services around the World? What focus would change with the ME? Plus Obama wanted to close some more bases but will hold up until after the election year.
I don't have a problem with reducing our footprint in the EU. Let them spend their money for their own defenses and protections. But if we are going to focus on Asia and SE Asia then we best have our $#@! together. Not like with this Arab Spring and their Civil Wars.