Hagel talks of tough defense choices after war

Hagel talks of tough defense choices after war

CHICAGO (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says tough trade-offs are necessary as the military pivots from a 13-year war footing and comes under enormous budgetary constraints.

In a speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Tuesday, Hagel said those painful decisions include cuts to military pay, the upgrading or abandoning of aging weapons systems, and a reduction in the size of the armed forces.

At the same time, Hagel says, national security also depends on strategic investment in cyber technology, unmanned weapons systems and international partnerships.

Hagel says Congress must step up and give military leaders the flexibility to make the budget cuts that lawmakers are demanding, even if that means closing bases and programs popular with constituents.