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Army Secretary McHugh says budget cuts are biggest enemy

Ellen Abbott
Secretary of the Army John McHugh spoke at the Syracuse University's Maxwell School.

It’s not the threats from abroad that worry Army Secretary John McHugh the most these days. During a visit at Syracuse University yesterday, he said an uncertain budget situation is the military's boogie man right now.  

McHugh got a close-up look at some programs at Syracuse University that help veterans and offer military degrees. Afterwards he spoke to reporters and admitted that the things that scare him now are potential budget cuts.  

"This is not just about an Army secretary trying to keep his troops, this is really about the national security of this nation, and some fundamental decisions that have to be made," said McHugh.

The Army is about 450,000 strong now, and McHugh says that is almost as low as it can go. McHugh, a former North Country congressman expects the Pentagon will be release a downsizing and restructuring plan this summer. But his worries go beyond that.  

“What kind of draconian cuts we would likely have to make if sequestration is not solved by January of this upcoming year. That would in essence, require us to cut beyond the cuts that are happening this summer. Cut another 30,000 soldiers,” said the secretary.

And if that happens, McHugh says the Army won’t be able to meet all its missions, and some of those missions would have to go.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.