WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Dick Cheney told budget negotiators Tuesday that paring the nation's military by 25% could save $8.6 billion over five years.
Cheney said such a cut would retire six active duty Army divisions, 111 Navy ships and 11 Air Force tactical fighter wings and would remove 442,000 men and women from the military's 2.1 million active duty ranks over the next five years.
Cheney's proposal would reduce the fiscal 1991 defense budget President Bush submitted in January to $302 billion from $303.3 billion. Over five years, it would cut $8.6 billion from Bush's proposal. He discussed the outline with reporters at the Pentagon after the budget session on Capitol Hill.
The secretary submitted the outline for the reduction to Administration and congressional negotiators, who must agree on a deficit reduction plan.
Later, at the Pentagon, Cheney argued against House and Senate plans for far more severe budget reductions, contending they could close half of the U.S. military's installations around the world and lay off a third of the 3.1 million military and civilian workers on the Pentagon's payrolls.