A report finds the Defense Department could cut more troops, save $50 billion

Study: Pentagon Could Cut 100,000-Plus Troops, Maintain Fighting Power

The Slatest
Your News Companion
Sept. 24 2013 7:04 PM

Study: Pentagon Could Cut 100,000-Plus Troops, Maintain Fighting Power

Secretary of DefenseChuck Hagel is ceremonially sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden on March 14, 2013 at the Pentagon.

Photo by PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

With leaders in Washington looking to cut costs wherever they can, a report released on Tuesday, finds that the Defense Department could bear a greater burden of the cost cutting and make significantly deeper cuts than initially proposed.

The report, authored by former military leaders for the non-partisan Stimson Center think tank, recommends an array of reductions that would amount to nearly $50 billion in budget cuts to American defense spending. The report’s biggest proposed savings, according to the AP, would amount to a $22.4 billion reduction next fiscal year and would include cutting overhead costs, such as civilian employees, headquarters staff and contractors, as well as reforming pension and health programs.


Military officials were already planning a reduction in the 570,000 uniformed soldiers in the Army by 80,000, along with reducing the size of the Marine Corps. The report suggests that the Defense Department could go farther in troop reductions, shedding an additional 60,000 troops and 50,000 more civilian employees than planned without hurting American military power.

Other savings, according to the report, would come from the Pentagon's modernization program, which includes cutting or delaying certain weapons systems.

"The Defense Department is not a jobs program," Barry M. Blechman, one of the authors of the report, said in a Capitol Hill conference Tuesday. “He said lawmakers have ‘stood in the way’ of some of the cuts because they mean job losses among constituents,” according to the AP.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in New York City. Follow him on Twitter.

  News & Politics
March 31 2015 5:00 AM How the Founder of the Fugees Became a Big-Time Political Donor Without Anyone Knowing The musical artist chose to fund a super PAC through opaque, legal, and increasingly popular means.
  Slate Plus
Lexicon Valley
March 31 2015 9:17 AM The Redline of March Overheard on email: Slates copy desk rounds up the month’s style and grammar rulings.