WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced a sweeping budget plan that would cut the number of military soldiers, their pay and benefits. The former Nebraska Senator says scaled back operations in Iraq and Afghanistan call for a leaner, meaner military that must adapt to the new war landscape and new war tactics.
The proposal is already sparking controversy.
Here are the details of the plan: The Army would be cut to 440,000 men and women from 570,000 active soldiers - the lowest in 70 years. The Marines are asked to decrease its force by 8,000. The proposal also calls to slow the rate of pay increases, trim housing allowances, and cut subsidiaries to military commissaries.
The 40-year-old A-10 Warthog attack jet will be replaced by drones at a savings of $3.5 billion over five years. Secretary Hagel says the future military will focus on special operations, cyber warfare, and new technology.
Critics including some Congressmen and Governors say the cuts leave the Country vulnerable to attacks here at home and abroad. The Secretary acknowledges with a smaller military comes a greater risk but has consulted with military leaders and says the proposed levels position the U.S. to fight one war abroad while protecting the homeland.
Congress takes up the issue next week.