Cutting defense budget proposal long-needed

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has recommended deep cuts in the Pentagon’s budget, citing the immense size of the defense budget as well as the shifting landscape of wartime combat.

Hagel addressed Congress, recommending the decrease of the physical size of the military to between 440,000 and 450,000 active-duty members, the smallest it would be since the military buildup immediately prior to World War II, in addition to cuts in housing allowances and other military benefits. Hagel reasoned that the United States Armed Forces must adjust to fighting smaller, more higher-tech wars, with the probability of the United States engaging in a large ground war becoming more unlikely. Additionally, Hagel mentioned the large size of U.S. budget devoted to military spending, and stated that targeted and anticipated cuts would be less damaging than a Congress sequester.

Hagel’s recommendation shows not only a well-reasoned grasp of the United States’ fiscal and military position, but also a great deal of courage. Directly after the announcement, members of Congress vowed to fight this proposal, one which Hagel appears ready to publicly defend. Additionally, with a ballooning deficit and formidable national debt, Hagel has recognized the dire state of the government’s finances. With 19 percent of the 2012 budget devoted to defense and military spending, totaling $689 billion, this area of funding must be trimmed to ensure long-term economic stability.

Hagel is a defense secretary who has offered to cut his own budget. Recognizing the national problem our country faces and offering to contribute to a solution is a praiseworthy action, and one that adjusts the U.S. military to the realities and necessities of 21st-century warfare.