Chuck Hagel in address to Pentagon as new US Defense Secretary said Wednesday the automatic $46 bn defense budget cut taking effect Friday is “a reality we need to deal with.” A House committee reports that the Marine Corps will shrink by 25 percent (from 202,000 to 145,000), the army will drop from 569,000 to 426,000 and 78 percent will significantly curtail training. Less than half of ground units will be trained to minimum readiness levels for deployment. The Navy will delay deployment of an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf.

Ending a decade of war, Hagel called attention to future threats and challenges, such as cyber warfare, and stressed the importance of alliances like NATO.