The Pentagon is proposing that the Army downsize from 570,000 troops on active duty to 490,000 and for the Air Force to lose an entire class of F-35 fighter planes, causing the U.S. Army to be the smallest it has been since 1940. These potential changes could cause 80,000 soldiers to lose their jobs, which would significantly affect military families, as well as the loss of jobs of those who build the aircraft.
The proposal of these cuts greatly reflects the political climate of today, as President Obama pledged not to get involved in wars abroad that overextend U.S. forces and add billions more to the National debt.
According to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who backs the plan, this is a suitable size for the U.S. army in that it enables America to adequately defend any enemy, but with not enough resources to allow lawmakers to feel it can take on lengthy international missions.
America is evolving in the way that it is treating conflict, with cyberwarfare protection and special operations like drones instead of relying so heavily on land forces. Hagel stressed that building up “cyber resources” in order to have “technological superiority” in defensive measures is why reducing ground troop strength is possible.
Hagel said that the direction U.S. defense is taking is going to be different because of new developments in technology during a press conference at the Pentagon. “We are repositioning to focus on the strategic challenges and opportunities that will define our future: new technologies, new centers of power, and a world that is growing more volatile, more unpredictable, and in some instances more threatening to the United States.”