THE PENTAGON — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel proposed deep and far-reaching cuts across the military on Monday, vowing to bring spending down to pre-Civil War levels, sources confirmed.
“There are some who would criticize a move towards bringing our military spending down to levels seen in the 1860s,” said Hagel. “But these people don’t understand the evolving nature of warfare.”
While the cuts would hit naval personnel hardest — with a reduction in the overall number of commodores in the service and the suspension of its plan to send gunboats to open up Japan to trade — the Army is also facing the end of its “two tribes” policy of having enough regiments mustered to fend off multiple Indian raids.
In a press briefing, Hagel also explained the need to make drastic cuts to equipment and personnel, but vowed to maintain important research and development funds for projects such as a regiment that can man two skirmisher lines at once and a ship of the line made of iron that runs on “steam power.”
However, plenty of programs will face the surgeon’s hacksaw. “The first thing we need to get rid of is the 32-pounder cannon,” said Hagel. “You need several extra horses to draw it and the reinforced caisson can only travel on the sturdiest dirt roads.”
He added that the Air Force would also see a reduction to “tested and sustainable technology levels,” such as hydrogen-powered dirigibles whose safety record rivals today’s Ospreys.
Hagel refused to comment if the Army would still receive funding for its controversial all-negro units.
Paul contributed a headline and emotional support for this report.