2014-03-06T001120Z_1_CBREA2500J100_RTROPTP_2_USA-MILITARY-CUTS

U.S. lawmakers skeptical of Pentagon's 2015 budget plan, priorities

U.S. Secretary of Defense Hagel makes remarks to the press on looming budget cuts at the PentagonBy David Alexander WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Skeptical U.S. lawmakers told Pentagon leaders they did not like the department’s proposed 2015 defense budget on Wednesday but acknowledged that painful cuts to military personnel and popular weapons systems were due to spending caps approved by Congress. Reacting to the new Pentagon budget unveiled this week, members of the Senate Armed Services Committee expressed concern about plans to slash the size of the Army, curb the growth of military compensation and retire popular weapons systems such as the entire fleet of A-10 “Warthog” tank-killer aircraft. Even the panel’s Democratic chairman, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, questioned whether the resources provided to the Defense Department were “adequate to enable our military to meet its national security missions.” The Pentagon’s 2015 spending plan unveiled on Tuesday begins to look beyond the wars of the past 13 years, calling for a smaller overall military to generate savings that can be used to ensure training and modernization at a time of reduced budgets.

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