Secretary of Defense announces sweeping cuts

DOD says many cuts affect benefits to military families

By Scott Johnson - Reporter , Nick Jones - Producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced Monday that sweeping cuts are coming at the Department of Defense, and many of those cuts affect benefits to military families.

This is concerning many military families now that there's talk of trimming the military down to what it was before World War II.

While most of the cuts are to the Army, there will also be some Navy cuts, too.

Pamela Willoughby is a Navy wife who found the news unsettling.

"We have a backup plan if anything ever happened," said Willoughby. "But we like our military life. We've signed up for it, knew what we were getting into and don't want it to change."

Willoughby is raising her two children alone right now while her husband is deployed. When she heard that there will be deep cuts, it affects everything from housing allowances to increased health-care premiums, and to limiting pay raises to 1 percent.

"It's hard enough as is without things being cut. Yeah, we're military; yeah, we're set to get paid, but we still struggle just as everyone else does," said Willoughby.

The local impacts of this are unknown right now. A spokesperson at Naval Station Mayport said they're continuing business as usual.

There are a few specific Navy cuts are being proposed. One could reduce the number of Littoral Combat Ships from 52 to 32. Right now, there aren't any at Mayport, but several were expected by 2020.

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A top Department of Defense spokesperson said around 50 percent of defense costs are personnel and they have to trim to balance the budget.

While some military families are worried, others think Uncle Sam will take care of them. As far as specific cuts in the Navy, its budget will be presented March 4.

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