Image copyright Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo/DoD
By Jon Harper
Copyright 2014 Stars and Stripes
WASHINGTON — Facing fiscal constraints, the Defense Department will try to preserve high-tech warfare capabilities while cutting people and platforms and curbing the growth of pay and benefits, according to a budget preview unveiled by Pentagon officials Monday.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel suggested next year’s budget will have historic implications.
“As we end our combat mission in Afghanistan, this will be the first budget to fully reflect the transition DOD is making after 13 years of war — the longest conflict in our nation’s history … The choices ahead will define our defense institutions for the years to come,” he told reporters at the Pentagon.
Caps on spending stemming from recent Congressional budget agreements have forced DOD to make cuts to force structure and lower personnel costs in order to preserve high-priority programs and maintain sufficient levels of readiness to meet future threats, Hagel said.