Unlike other occasions when defense budgets were cut, the Army has “seen this downturn coming for a while,” McHugh said. That means the Army is “better positioned to deal with it.”
The Defense Department is working to begin implementing $350 billion in cuts over the next 10 years under a compromise reached in August by Congress to raise the debt ceiling. The Pentagon estimates it will get nearly $460 billion less than projected in its last long-term budget plan.
The deal calls for a joint supercommittee to find $1.5 trillion in cuts by Thanksgiving, or automatic cuts will be triggered across the board. The $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts would be split 50-50 between defense and non-defense spending.
McHugh told the audience Army officials feel they can operate a smaller force as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq wind down.