“Absolutely dangerous” and “just devastating” were the words used by former Vice President Dick Cheney to describe the Obama administration’s plans to to make drastic defense cuts that would shrink the U.S. Army to pre-World War II levels.
“I have not been a strong supporter of Barack Obama. But this really is over the top. It does enormous long-term damage to our military,” Cheney said Monday on Fox News. ”They act as though it is like highway spending and you can turn it on and off. The fact of the matter is he is having a huge impact on the ability of future presidents to deal with future crises that are bound to arise.”
The Army had already been preparing to shrink to 490,000 active-duty members from a wartime peak of 570,000. Hagel is proposing to cut it further to between 440,000 and 450,000.
"We are repositioning to focus on the strategic challenges and opportunities that will define our future: new technologies, new centers of power, and a world that is growing more volatile, more unpredictable, and in some instances more threatening to the United States," Hagel said at a press conference at the Pentagon.
He defended the proposed reductions in troop strength, as a trade-off for building up "technological superiority" and priorities like Special Operations Forces and "cyber resources."
Cheney went on to say he believes the cuts reflect President Obama’s beliefs and priorities.
“They peddle this line that now we’re going to pivot to Asia, but they’ve never justified it,” he said. “And I think the whole thing is not driven by any change in world circumstances, it is driven by budget considerations. He would much rather spend the money on food stamps than he would on a strong military or support for our troops.”