U.S. Secretary of Defense proposes Army cuts

(WISH photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel proposed shrinking the Army to its smallest size in 74 years.

The cuts would affect active duty, reserve and National Guard units across the country.

Vietnam veteran Danny Rice read about the proposed cuts before the official announcement was ever made.

Rice is a past post commander for American Legion Post 64 on Holt Road. He believes if the cuts go through, they will do more harm than good.

“It just doesn’t make any sense with the world the way it is now with Iran, Korea. It’s just terrible,” he said.

The plan would reduce the active duty Army by 13 percent to around 445,000 people. The National Guard would be reduced by 20,000 people (more than 5 percent) to 335,000, and the reserves would be reduced by 10,000 people (or 5 percent) to 195,000.

“The changes to end strength would result to a smaller Army. But would help ensure the Army remain well trained and clearly superior,” said Hagel.

Plans are already underway by veterans organizations to lobby against the cuts.

“People might say we are winding down in Afghanistan, but we see what is happening in Iran, Pakistan and Syria, the world is still a very dangerous place,” said John Raughter, Director of Communications for the American Legion.

Rice also plans to do some lobbying on behalf of Hoosier veterans and soldiers. He will soon head to Washington, D.C. to talk with Indiana representatives and senators.

“Tell them stop the non-sense. Give the veterans what they were promised and keep our military at top strength,” Rice said.

Along with cutting troop strength, the 2015 budget calls for closing military bases, requiring soldiers to contribute to housing costs and raising health care costs for veterans.

While the budget proposal was announced, the details were not released as of Monday. Those details should provide a better idea of how Hoosiers could be affected.

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