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Army Secretary: Service ‘In Position to Deal’ With Budget Cuts

John McHugh

The Army can deal with the current round of defense cuts, Army Secretary John McHugh said Monday.

During the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., McHugh said service officials will have to shed personnel to fall in line with a reduced budget.

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.

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