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Major military cuts loom for the future of the armed forces

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Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced major cuts to the military Monday. (Source: CNN) Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced major cuts to the military Monday. (Source: CNN)

(CNN) – The Defense Department announced major spending cuts Monday that will be felt across each military branch.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. military has bulked up its resources, enabling it to wage wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and a global war on terror.

Now, in a carefully-crafted plan announced Monday at the Pentagon, the military says it will scale back to force levels not seen since before World War II.

"We must now adapt, innovate and make difficult decisions to ensure that our military remains ready and capable," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Monday.

The details of the cuts include:

  • The Army will reduce its forces from a high of 570,000 troops to around 450,000 troops.
  • The Marine Corps will cut its forces by 8,000, or around four percent.
  • The elimination of the A-10 Warthog attack jet, which would save $3.5 billion through five years.

"Our recommendations favor a smaller, more capable force, putting a premium on rapidly deployable self-sustaining platforms that can defeat more technologically advanced adversaries," Hagel said.

The cuts not only reflect a changing political climate, but also an evolution in how the military engages its enemies. Case in point: cyberwarfare and special operations will not be impacted.

"If you're going to conduct counterterrorism operations, it relies more heavily on great operations and great technology," said CNN military analyst Ret. Major General James "Spider" Marks.

Critics argue fewer resources will leave the U.S. more vulnerable to attacks at home and abroad. Hagel recognized these cuts do not come without uncertainty.

"Our future force will assume additional risks in certain areas," Hagel said.

The Pentagon will present its plan to Congress next week.

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