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.
CNN's Chief National Security correspondent Jim Sciutto covers everything from U.S. foreign policy, including international hotspots such as Iran, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, to defense, terrorism and intelligence issues such as NSA mass surveillance.
On Monday at Noon ET, he'll be taking your questions on Reddit on anything relating to national security and his experiences covering the beat for CNN. Now is your chance to ask him anything!
By Halimah Abdullah
The Department of Defense plans to scale down the nation's Army to its pre-World War II size and do away with an entire class of Air Force attack jets in an attempt to cut military spending, which mushroomed after the attacks of September 11, 2001, according to reports.
The plan, backed by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, as first reported by The New York Times, positions the military to handle any enemy but will leave the armed forces with much fewer resources to take on lengthy missions abroad. The dwindled budget also reflects the current political climate, with a President who has pledged to pull back from extended and expensive wars abroad in an era of federal funding cutbacks.
The budget is to be presented Monday.
Hagel proposes cutting the Army to 440,000-450,000 troops, according to the Times. Army troop levels already were supposed to go down to 490,000, from their height of 570,000 after the 9/11 attacks.
By CNN Foreign Affairs Reporter Elise Labott
President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin went to great lengths to portray their phone call Friday as evidence the two leaders were working together to stabilize the situation in Ukraine.
Absent were the accusations they traded the past two months over the future of the former Soviet republic.
The Obama administration continues to dismiss the notion of a new Cold War with Russia. But the louder their protests, the more apparent the chill has become.
It was on display Saturday in widely differing characterizations of a telephone conversation between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, after news broke that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych left the capital because of what he described as a "coup."
By Chloe Sommers
In her first Sunday talk show appearance since her use of Benghazi “talking points” set off a political firestorm in 2012, National Security Adviser Susan Rice was asked point-blank whether she has any regrets about her involvement in informing the public of developments regarding the violence before, during and after the attacks on a U.S. post in Libya.
"No," Rice bluntly told David Gregory on NBC's "Meet The Press.”
He noted that many believe the controversy over the accuracy of Rice's talking points cost her a chance at becoming secretary of state.
“This information I provided, which I explained to you, which was what we had at the moment, it could change,” Rice said. “I commented this was based on what we knew on that morning was provided to me and my colleagues and Congress, by the intelligence community, and that's been well validated in many ways since.FULL STORY
By Greg Clary
Gay rights, Edward Snowden, Syria and now Ukraine: They're all recent issues in which the United States and Russia have had disagreements.
Tension has always seemed to exist between the two countries, and that's certainly been the case for President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Some days, it almost seems like the Cold War never went away.
In the latest example, Ukraine, it appears the Russian-backed government of President Viktor Yanukovych has been removed from office after deadly protests, setting up a power vacuum in a country known for Russian meddling.
The U.S. stands with Ukrainian opposition forces hoping to increase democratic reforms and decrease influence from Moscow, while Russia slams the opposition, saying they failed to honor international agreements made last week aimed at ending the crisis.FULL STORY
By Adam Aigner-Treworgy
President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin "exchanged views" on the need to quickly implement the political agreement reached on Friday in Ukraine and for all sides to "refrain from further violence."
A White House statement said the two leaders spoke by phone and also discussed Syria, including the "importance of efforts to advance a political solution" to the civil war.
By Barbara Starr
Intelligence increasingly shows al Qaeda is encouraging American and other western fighters in Syria to undertake special training to prepare them for possibly returning to their home countries to carry out attacks, U.S. officials told CNN.
National security officials are concerned that amid the mayhem of Syria's civil war, the global terror group has found a safe haven and a place where it again can recruit, plot and train operatives to carry out attacks on the U.S. homeland.
By Barbara Starr
Ukrainian military forces have moved into defensive positions around bases and weapons depots in the past few hours, according to a U.S. defense official familiar with the latest intelligence.
The move is seen by the United States as an effort to ensure the military's facilities remain secure.
So far, the move appears to mainly involve Ukraine military personnel, with no widespread movement of armored vehicles.
All of that is leading to the preliminary U.S. assessment that the move is defensive.
By Elise Labott and Tom Cohen
President Barack Obama condemned the violence in the Ukraine, saying Wednesday the United States expected the government to show restraint against protesters and warning there would be consequences for excessive action.
Later, the United States said it would won't issue visas for 20 senior members of the Ukrainian government and others responsible for the violent crackdown this week in the capital of Kiev, a senior State Department official told reporters on a conference call.
That development came as the Ukrainian government and the opposition announced a truce to allow for negotiations to restart with the aim at stabilizing the situation, the official said.
In Mexico for a summit with the leaders of Canada and the host country, Obama said that "we're going to be watching closely and we expect the Ukrainian government to show restraint, to not resort to violence in dealing with peaceful protestors."FULL STORY