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U.S. army may shrink to smallest size since WWII

New size would put the country at risk if U.S. forces were to carry out two large-scale military actions simultaneously

Published: Updated:

The U.S. defense secretary is set to propose Monday reducing the U.S. army to its smallest size since before the World War Two, and removing an entire class of Air Force attack jets, reported the New York Times.

The reduction of U.S. defense spending stands behind Secretary Chuck Hagel’s proposal, following President Barack Obama’s pledge to end war in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pentagon officials speaking on condition of anonymity told the newspaper.

"You have to always keep your institution prepared, but you can't carry a large land-war Defense Department when there is no large land war," A senior Pentagon official was quoted by the Times as saying.

The new size would make it critical for the U.S. to carry out two large military actions at the same time, too small for long foreign occupations, but capable of defending itself.

Hagel is also to recommend a limit on pay raises for the military soldiers, higher fees for healthcare benefits, and decreased housing allowances, reported the Wall Street Journal.

A joint U.S.-South Korea military drill began on Monday, involving a computer-based simulation, as well as air, ground and naval drills, reported the BBC.

The annual exercise is set to continue till April 24, involving over 12,500 U.S. troops, added Britain’s news website.

(With Reuters)