The Defense Department on Monday proposed cutting the Army to its smallest size in 74 years, slashing a class of attack jets and rolling back personnel costs in an effort to adjust a department buoyed by a decade of war to an era of leaner budgets.
The five-year budget blueprint outlined by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reflects a willingness by the Pentagon to make deep cuts to personnel strength to invest in technology and equipment as it eases off a war footing.
Gordon Adams, a defense budget expert at American University who served in the Clinton administration, said the new proposal was more realistic than the one the department articulated a year ago. But he warned that Pentagon officials would be wise to plan for sequestration-level budgets for some time to come.
"The international threat environment doesn't drive you to higher levels, and the Republican Party is split on the issue and disinclined to go higher," he said.