The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Nation & World

April 11, 2013

Hagel: Job not to cut heart out of Pentagon

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel rejected the suggestion that President Barack Obama tapped him to "cut the heart out of the Pentagon," pointedly reminding lawmakers Thursday that Congress approved the smaller, deficit-driven military budgets long before he took the job.

Faced with a $487 billion budget cut over a decade, Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Pentagon had no choice in drawing up the politically unpopular reductions in the president's proposed $526.6 billion budget for next year.

The blueprint calls for another round of domestic base closures, higher health care fees for retirees and their dependents, and a smaller pay raise for personnel. Dempsey cast the choice as between a well-compensated force and the readiness of the nation's war fighters.

Cost-conscious lawmakers have clamored for fiscal austerity in a period of trillion-dollar deficits, but often balk when the cuts hit military bases in their home states or affect powerful veterans' groups. That disconnect was on stark display during the nearly four hours the Pentagon leaders testified before the House Armed Services Committee.

In one exchange, Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, questioned Hagel on what his role is — managing the decline in defense spending or warning of the dangers of military cuts.

"There is a widespread view that you were brought into the Pentagon to cut defense," Thornberry told Hagel.

The secretary, on the job six weeks, said the cuts were law, part of the budget agreement reached between Obama and congressional Republicans in August 2011. Added to those reductions are $41 billion in automatic, across-the-board cuts, commonly known as sequestration.

Military leaders have warned that the automatic cuts would do harm to the military, but deficit hawks in Congress prevailed over defense hawks and the cuts kicked in March 1. Tea partyers, Republicans and Democrats continued to disagree over whether to reverse them.

Text Only
Nation & World
  • Missouri executes inmate for 1993 farm slaying

    Missouri executed an inmate early Wednesday only a few miles from the farm where prosecutors say he orchestrated the 1993 killing of a couple whose cows he wanted to steal.

    April 23, 2014

  • Pro-Russian insurgents hold US journalist captive

    Pro-Russian gunmen in eastern Ukraine admitted on Wednesday that they are holding an American journalist, saying he was suspected of unspecified "bad activities."

    April 23, 2014

  • Beautiful Bulldogs.jpg Lucey is tops in Iowa's 'Beautiful Bulldog' event

    Lucey is a slobbering 18-month-old pooch whose human family dreams of making her a therapy dog.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sherpas leave Everest; some expeditions nix climbs

    Sherpa guides packed up their tents and left Mount Everest's base camp Wednesday in an unprecedented walkout to honor 16 of their colleagues who were killed last week in the deadliest avalanche ever recorded on the mountain, climbers said.

    April 23, 2014

  • FBI investigates suspected serial child molester

    The FBI asked for the public's help Tuesday to identify at least 90 potential victims of a suspected child predator who worked at 10 American and other international schools abroad for more than four decades before committing suicide last month in Minnesota.

    April 22, 2014

  • Australia signals deeper search for Malaysian jet

    Australia may use more powerful sonar equipment that can delve deeper beneath the Indian Ocean in the hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet as the prime minister said Wednesday that failure to find any clue in the most likely crash site would not spell the end of the search.

    April 22, 2014

  • Tech boom presents new wrinkles for Wrigley Field

    During a recent game at Wrigley Field, John Weber was using a pencil and scorecard to expertly track the game between his hometown Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 86-year-old retired transit worker figures he is an increasingly rare kind of baseball fan.

    April 22, 2014

  • Comcast 1Q earns surge on upbeat NBC results

    Comcast Corp. said Tuesday that its first-quarter net income rose by 30 percent as ad revenue surged at broadcast network NBC, helped by the Winter Olympics in Sochi and Jimmy Fallon's elevation as host of "The Tonight Show."

    April 22, 2014

  • General Motors seeks more protection from suits

     General Motors Co. has filed suit in a U.S. bankruptcy court asking a judge to protect the company from legal claims for actions that took place before it emerged from bankruptcy in 2009.

    April 22, 2014

  • Disney's 'It's a Small World' turns 50 The timeless Disney tune "It's a Small World" that wafts through our memories from past theme park vacations turns 50 this year.

    April 21, 2014