Pentagon plan to shrink military to pre-World War II levels

The new Pentagon budget reflects an end to an age of protracted occupations

Published February 24, 2014 2:43PM (EST)

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will on Monday announce a plan to shrink the U.S. military to its smallest size since before World War II. The Pentagon budget, which will include scrapping an entire class of Air Force jets, reflects a new age for the military, with a focus away from extended foreign occupations.

As the New York Times reported , the new proposal constitutes "the first Pentagon budget to aggressively push the military off the war footing adopted after the terror attacks of 2001." The Times notes, however, that the proposal will certainly face some congressional pushback:

Outlines of some of the budget initiatives, which are subject to congressional approval, have surfaced, an indication that even in advance of its release the budget is certain to come under political attack.

For example, some members of Congress, given advance notice of plans to retire air wings, have vowed legislative action to block the move, and the National Guard Association, an advocacy group for those part-time military personnel, is circulating talking points urging Congress to reject anticipated cuts. State governors are certain to weigh in, as well. And defense-industry officials and members of Congress in those port communities can be expected to oppose any initiatives to slow Navy shipbuilding.

Even so, officials said that despite budget reductions, the military would have the money to remain the most capable in the world and that Mr. Hagel’s proposals have the endorsement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

By Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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Air Force Budget Chuck Hagel Pentagon U.s. Military War