Budget cuts to slash U.S. Army size to smallest since World War Two

WASHINGTON Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:24pm EST

WASHINGTON Feb 24 (Reuters) - The Pentagon said on Monday it would slash the Army to pre-World War Two levels, eliminate the popular A-10 aircraft and reduce military benefits in order to meet 2015 spending caps, setting up an election-year fight with Congress over defense priorities.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the Pentagon planned to reduce the size of the U.S. Army to between 440,000 and 450,000 soldiers, the smallest number of troops since 1940 at the start of the Second World War.

He said the Air Force would eliminate its fleet of A-10 aircraft to ensure funding for the F-35 joint strike fighter and other critical Air Force needs.