Pentagon: Cuts leave military 'too small'

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The Pentagon released a report Tuesday evening that says sequestration budget cuts leave the United States "gambling" with its military readiness.

“Overall, sequester-level cuts would result in a military that is too small to fully meet the requirements of our strategy, thereby significantly increasing national security risks both in the short- and long-term,” a Defense Department statement said.

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“Needed training” would be delayed across the force, and troops would face even a greater shortfall in being combat ready, the report said.

The cuts of $50 billion per year through at least 2023 would reportedly result in buying 17 fewer Joint Strike Fighters, five fewer KC-46 tankers and P-8A aircraft. The Navy would buy eight fewer ships, including one fewer Virginia-class submarine and three fewer destroyers, and would delay the delivery of the new carrier John F. Kennedy by two years.

There would also be sharp cutbacks in many smaller weapons programs and in military construction funding, the report said.
The department would invest about $66 billion less in procurement and research than in 2015.

These effects would be in addition to impacts already announced in March, which would include cutting the active duty Army to 420,000, the National Guard to 315,000 and the Reserve to 185,000.

The Marine Corps would drop to 175,000 active duty personnel. The Air Force would have to eliminate its entire fleet of KC-10 tankers and shrink the number of its drones. The Navy would mothball six destroyers and retire an aircraft carrier and its air wing.

“As [Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel] has said, under sequester-level budgets, we would be gambling that our military will not be required to respond to multiple major contingencies at the same time,” the Pentagon said.