WASHINGTON (AP) - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is warning of sharply deeper cuts to personnel, health care and weapons systems across his department, in order to put the brakes on spiraling costs and reshape the military for leaner budgets and new challenges.
Hagel says escalating spending to maintain benefits, existing military structures and replacements for aging weapons programs are devouring funding needed for critical operations, training and equipment. Hagel is speaking at the National Defense University at Fort McNair.
He says the Pentagon must reevaluate the size of its management and military command structures, which continue to grow even as the overall force numbers decline. And he worries that despite cuts in the past four years, weapons systems are still more expensive and technologically risky than initially promised.