By Tom Cohen
Get real, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told America on Monday in proposing a scaled back, modern military that would cut the Army to its pre-World War II size, retire the A-10 "Warthog" attack jet and reduce some benefits for fighting forces.
"This is a budget that recognizes the reality of the magnitude of our fiscal challenges, the dangerous world we live in, and the American military's unique and indispensable role in the security of this country and in today's volatile world," Hagel said in unveiling the Defense Department spending plan for 2015 and beyond.
By CNN Staff
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is ordering an independent review of the nation's nuclear force following revelations of misconduct involving officers, the Pentagon said on Thursday.
Top leaders of the force plan to meet with Hagel in coming weeks, Defense Department spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said.
The action follows a recent disclosure that nearly three dozen Air Force officers at a nuclear missile base in Montana were involved in cheating on a proficiency test.
That followed a decision by senior military officials to discipline a general with nuclear oversight responsibilities whose personal misbehavior involving alcohol and women on an overseas trip got him into hot water.FULL STORY
By CNN Staff
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says his Afghan counterpart assured him that an important security pact will be reached with Kabul in a "timely manner," despite a failure so far to forge a deal.
Hagel made the remark during a visit to Afghanistan on Saturday. What is known as the bilateral security agreement - ready to be implemented but still unsigned - initially has been front and center in Hagel's visit.FULL STORY
By Dan Merica
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said Monday that if Israel were to strike Iran in an effort to damage the country's nuclear program, the United States would meet "some defined obligations" it has to the Middle East nation.
"I feel like we have a deep obligation to Israel," the military leader said. "That is why we are in constant contact and collaboration with them."
This fall, diplomats from the United States and other interested countries have met to deal with Iran's nuclear program and ways in which advancements could be halted.
The states whose National Guard units continue to deny military benefits to same-sex spouses were taken to task by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on Thursday night, in a speech to the Anti-Defamation League.
Denying such benefits "causes division among the ranks, and it furthers prejudice, which DoD has fought to extinguish," Hagel said as he relayed a conversation he had earlier that day with Gen. Frank Grass, who is Chief of the National Guard Bureau.
By Jamie Crawford
The head of the largest U.S. government employer says there is still a long way to go to remove uncertainty for federal employees despite the end of the government shutdown.
"People have to have some confidence that they have a job that they can rely on," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday. "We can't continue to do this to our people, having them live under this cloud of uncertainty."
With a $680 billion budget, the Pentagon has the highest payroll of any federal agency as it supports 7.4 million active duty forces and 718,000 civilian workers.
Hagel said the civilian defense workforce was hit hardest during the 16-day shutdown that ended on Thursday.
By CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Thursday approved a plan that would allow all military academy college sports, including high profile football games, to continue until the end of October, even as a partial government shutdown continues, according to a Defense Department official directly familiar with the plan.
The official tells CNN that all of the sports programs have been able to ensure they will pay their expenses with funds not appropriated by Congress, such as ticket and merchandise sales.
"The concept of the student athlete is important," said the official, adding that Hagel made the decision after consulting with the service secretaries. He said one factor playing into the decision is that if the Defense Department had halted sporting activities, such as the academy football games, it might have been in violation of broadcast contracts it has signed, and could have faced fines.
By Josh Levs and Tom Cohen
When Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel visits Dover Air Force Base Wednesday, he won't just be honoring troops killed in Afghanistan. His presence will also send a message about the government shutdown.
Hagel will attend a ceremony for the return of soldiers' remains – at a time the families of those service members are not receiving the standard benefits typically given to them.
Due to the partial federal government shutdown, those benefits, which include a $100,000 payment, are being withheld.
It's the "worst nightmare" for military families, says Amy Neiberger-Miller of TAPS, a support network for families of the fallen.FULL STORY
By Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Correspondent
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Saturday that "most [Department of Defense] civilians placed on emergency furlough during the government shutdown will be asked to return to work beginning next week."
The ongoing government shutdown has left more than 800,000 workers furloughed for the past five days - roughly half of those are civilians working for the Pentagon.
By Barbara Starr
The Pentagon may announce as soon as this weekend a plan to bring up to 400,000 furloughed civilian employees back to work, according to two Defense Department officials.
CNN has learned the plan is in the final stages of being written and approved.
If all are returned to work, it would represent about half the number of government civilian and contract employees at risk of furloughs during the government shutdown that began on Tuesday.
The partisan congressional stalemate over spending for the current fiscal year shows no sign of ending anytime soon.