Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel may have fallen in many ways into the traditional role of Pentagon chief after his contentious confirmation hearings, but he’s still somewhat unique in the role, today admitting that the US Army has more troops than it really needs.
The US Army presently has well over 500,000 active troops, and has plans to “cut” that down to 490,000. In a presentation to the media today, Hagel revealed that the current missions could be handled with “between 420,000 and 450,000” troops.
Hagel went on to discuss other programs that could be reduced in size with “minimal risk,” saying the plan would potentially save another $150 billion over the existing Pentagon spending projections.
Underscoring just how bloated the US military is, Hagel went on to concede that the $150 billion was still well short of the cuts that would actually need to be made under sequestration, assuming the military is ever required to followed through on them.
Hagel didn’t reveal them, but did say he had two more “dramatic” plans prepared in the event of sequester, adding they would require halting “modernization” programs.