Beyond the Air Force

In addition to sweeping cuts affecting the Air Force, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey on Thursday outlined plans to:

  • Reduce the size of the Army to 490,000, a cut of some 80,000 from the post-9/11 peak.
  • Trim the Marine Corps’ end strength to 182,000 from a peak of 202,000.
  • Slow F-35 procurement to complete more testing and allow for developmental changes before buying jets in significant quantities. DOD remains committed to all three F-35 variants.
  • Delay by two years development of the Navy’s future ballistic missile submarine.
  • Develop a submarine-based conventional prompt global strike option.
  • Make “marginal” reductions in the Army National Guard and Army Reserve, but no reductions in the Marine Corps Reserve.
  • Recommend increases in health care fees, co-pays, and deductibles for military retirees.

The President will also propose that Congress authorize a new round of BRAC, said Panetta. (Pentagon budget priorities document and budget fact sheet) (Panetta-Dempsey transcript) (Carter-Winnefeld transcript)