Chuck Hagel's Proposal to Scale Back the Military With Major Cuts

Secretary of Defense to recommend smallest Army since before World War II.
3:00 | 02/24/14

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Transcript for Chuck Hagel's Proposal to Scale Back the Military With Major Cuts
about America as a fighting force, the secretary of defense, essentially saying it's time to move away from the era of big ground wars like Afghanistan, time to cut the U.S. Military into a lean, mean team ready for 21st century. ABC's chief global correspondent Martha Raddatz on the banner headline and the argument erupting tonight. Reporter: It would be a big change. Rethinking America's military, our enemies, our wars. And how much we spend. On the chopping block? The number of America's soldiers. From a proposed 490,000 down to 4 on 40,000. Watch America's forces spike during world war ii, during Korea and Vietnam. These new cuts would see America with the fewest soldiers since before all of these wars. And in the skies? A 40-year-old aircraft, the a10 warthog -- to be replaced by newer aircraft, including the fearsome f-35 fighter jet. And the fame spy plane -- the u2, would be replaced by an unmanned drone. While at the same time America will continue to invest in its special operations forces and cyber warfare. In order to sustain our readiness and superiority. Reporter: Critics say the cucut S signal a weakness. All of this has to be approved by congress, which will be a very tough sale, here's one haunting thought -- a recently retired general told me today he worries about slashing the number of troops, he said that he remembers the day before 9/11, when he held in his hand a recommendation to cut America's troops, of course, that's a cut that never happened. And the stage has been set for the big debate. Thank you so much, Martha R

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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