Cartwright: Budget cuts could force a return to the draft

Retired Gen. James Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in an undated photo.


By Published: July 14, 2011

The Pentagon is considering massive changes to the force — including a draft — amid fears that new and far deeper budget cuts are looming just over the horizon, a top military official said Thursday.

Marine Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, offered a timeline for how deep cuts will affect the force during the next decade, including big reductions in operational budgets, slashing the size of the active-duty force and even scaling back entitlements such as retirement and health care, according to the Military Times newspapers.

President Obama has proposed cutting $400 billion from the defense budget over the next 12 years, but Cartwright said the military is bracing for even deeper cuts.

He divided the next decade into three segments and outlined the changes troops should expect down the line as budget cuts take effect. First to go, he said, will be funding for things like training, flying hours and steaming days.

The next phase is force size, which could mean reductions in force, shifting more troops to the reserves or implementing a draft. Toward the end of the decade, Cartwright said, base closings and cuts to retirement and health care could come into play.

Read more about Gen. Cartwright's discussion of budget cuts in the Air Force Times