Department of Defense proposes military cuts

WASHINGTON, D.C -- Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel gave specifics on cuts he'd like to see to the military.

Some of those cuts include slashing the number of army soldiers to between 440,000 and 450,000. Numbers that haven't been that low since before World War II.

Another proposed cut is taking 30,000 National Guardsmen off the job. Early numbers show that could include 1,000 in Florida.

Chief Petty Officer Michael Ellis spent 24 years in the Navy. He lives in Jacksonville now.

"I think it's a big mistake," he says.

Ellis says the proposed cuts are a big step backward when it comes to keeping us safe.

"What we're doing is weakening our country," he said.

Ellis also says it's a lack of respect for those who serve.

"It's a slap in the face," he said.

Officials at NAS JAX and Naval Station Mayport say it's too soon to know how, or even if the proposed plans could impact operations on base. The Navy in Washington tells First Coast News they hope to reveal more specifics early next month.

In the meantime, veterans like Ellis say they hope the Department of Defense changes course.

"The world is only getting more populated," he said. "More conflicts are going to happen, and with a smaller military it's going to be hard for us to protect everybody."

There are some bright spots in the proposal. The Pentagon says the number of those in Special Forces would increase by 4,000. The Navy would also still buy two destroyers and submarines each year.

Secretary Hagel will testify in front of Congress next week. They'll have the final say on any cuts.


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