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Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - 3:07am
El Paso, TX (KDBC) — The U.S. Army could soon see some big cuts.
On Monday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that the Pentagon wants to cut the U.S. Army to its smallest size since World War II, retire some of its warplanes, and slash benefits for military families.
Hagel said money is tight and “it's time to shift to a smaller modern military.”
The Pentagon proposes cutting troop levels by 10% from 520,000 to between 440,000 to 450,000.
The cuts are part of the Pentagon’s 2015 budget plan, as the country withdraws from Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Lee Peters from Fort Bliss, the fate of their workforce remains uncertain – he says it is still too early to tell how the proposed cuts will affect Fort Bliss.
“We will allow our elected appointed officials and our superior commanders to take that fight on why this premier installation should remain with a full workforce," he said on Monday. "A lot of both military, coalition, as well as joint partners come here to train. So, this makes it a viable place for people to want to come and train that replicates areas that you might see in Southwest Asia."
Fort Bliss has a military population of almost 170,000 and more than 4600 square miles of training space.
"Right now, we're aware that there's a proposal but we really don't know anything about it, it's not being enacted yet so don't really have any huge thoughts right now,” said Sergeant Alexander Lowe.
"I just joined, I’ve been 6 months in the Army so it's a little too early for me to tell, and it hasn't affected me personally but I guess time will tell," said PV2 Isaias Garcia.
In a statement released Monday, U.S. Representative Pete Gallego, (D) Texas said, “We have to get the balance of future spending right. Otherwise, we will end up with a large number of service members who have neither the funding they need for training nor the latest weapons needed to beat our enemies."
While President Obama supports the Pentagon’s plan, it is ultimately up to Congress to approve or deny it.