Pentagon budget: 4 ways White House wants to change the military

When top Pentagon officials came to Capitol Hill Wednesday with their 2015 budget in hand, they offered some key clues about what they expect the future US military to look like. The budget “fully reflects the historic transition taking place as America winds down the longest war in its history,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told lawmakers Wednesday, adding that it is “repositioning the military for new strategic challenges and opportunities that will define our future.” 

Here are the top four things the new Defense budget reveals about the White House’s priorities for the US military.

1. No more land wars

Mohammad Ismail/Reuters/File
A US soldier stands at the site of a suicide car bomb attack in Kabul in February 10.

The rise of a “new center of power” throughout the globe means “a world that is growing more volatile, more unpredictable and, in some instances, more threatening to the United States," Secretary Hagel said.

However, he stresses that this does not mean that the Department of Defense sees any more ground wars in its future, particularly as it wraps up America’s longest war in Afghanistan

“We are no longer sizing the military to conduct long and large stability operations,” he added, in a briefing with Pentagon reporters. 

But “no more land wars” is a mantra that the military has mistakenly trotted out before, most notably after World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, some critics warn. The latest round of cuts mean that “we won’t be ready for the next” war, says Rep. Buck McKeon (R) of California, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. After World War II, “We took the largest, strongest Army and Navy and we totally destroyed it,” he warns. “We don’t think we’re setting ourselves up for the same thing?”

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