Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called Monday for shrinking the U.S. Army to its smallest size in decades, along with other cuts, drawing criticism that the drastic changes will hurt U.S. security.
Hagel announced his Pentagon budget priorities Monday afternoon. The Army had already been preparing to shrink to 490,000 active-duty members from a wartime peak of 570,000. Hagel is proposing to cut it further to between 440,000 and 450,000.
That would make it the smallest since just before the U.S. entered World War II.
"We are repositioning to focus on the strategic challenges and opportunities that will define our future: new technologies, new centers of power, and a world that is growing more volatile, more unpredictable, and in some instances more threatening to the United States," Hagel said at a press conference at the Pentagon.
He defended the proposed reductions in troop strength, as a trade-off for building up "technological superiority" and priorities like Special Operations Forces and "cyber resources."
Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, warned that the cuts would hurt military readiness. And he said the country is only in this position because the Obama administration and Congress will not seriously take on cuts to entitlements.
"It's all being sacrificed ... on the altar of entitlements. This president cannot take on mandatory spending, so all we've done in the Congress -- and this president -- is basically cut discretionary spending," he told Fox News.
READ MORE AND SEE NEWS REEL: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/24/hagel-proposed-budget-will-reportedly-shrink-army-to-pre-wwii-numbers/