Defense secretary 'not pleased' that House ignored Pentagon cuts

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is “not pleased” that the House Armed Services Committee this week rejected the Pentagon’s major cost-cutting proposals.

“I think it's fair to say that he was not pleased by the markup,” Pentagon press secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said Friday. 

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The Pentagon had proposed cutting an aircraft carrier, retiring the A-10 and U-2 plane fleets, and closing excess military bases, in addition to reducing military pay raises and compensation. The goal of the cuts was to fit spending under a defense budget ceiling of $521.3 billion in 2015.

The House panel rejected all those cuts and a proposal to transfer the National Guard's attack helicopters to the active-duty Army. 

The bill goes to the full House floor in two weeks and will eventually be reconciled with the Senate's version in a conference committee later this year. 

“The secretary certainly hopes that when it gets to the Senate and intoconference, that the Congress will prove capable of seeing the wisdom, again, in the decisions that we've made and being willing to make those same tough choices and putting national security first over parochial interests,” Kirby said.

Kirby said Hagel had the authority to close some military infrastructure on his own but that he is focusing on working with Congress on another round of base closures for that.

“It's really the best way to do this, and that's the way that he — that he would prefer to move forward with reducing infrastructure,” Kirby said.