Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has unveiled the Pentagon's plans to cut enlistment in the United States Army to its smallest size since the onset of the Second World War.Hagel's five-year budget plan, announced yesterday, would also close military bases and reduce certain benefits. Officials are calling it the first Pentagon budget to aggressively distance itself from the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The proposal comes one week before President Barack Obama submits his 2015 budget plan to Congress.Al Jazeera reports: Under the Hagel plan—which Congress could change—the active-duty Army would shrink to between 440,000 and 450,000 soldiers, from its current 522,000. That would make it the smallest since just before the U.S. entered World War II. Army leaders have said for months that they expect their numbers would drop as the nation prepares to end its combat role in Afghanistan this year.Hagel's outline won't necessarily be the death-knell for current American militaristic intervention practices, though. The proposal counters some of its downsizing by raising special operations enlistment to 70,000, thereby aligning with present trends favoring fluidity over extended foreign occupations.
Alex Wolff is a Spring 2014 editorial intern.