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To Shrink Budget, Pentagon Proposes Cutting 100,000 Ground Troops

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that the the Pentagon will propose a $33 billion cut in the military's budget, for the 2013 fiscal year.

The AP reports that will be achieved by reducing ground forces by 100,000 and by eliminating older aircraft.

The AP reports:

"Defense Secretary Leon Panetta tells a Pentagon news conference the administration will request a 2013 budget of $525 billion, plus another $88 billion for operations in Afghanistan. Combined, those totals are about $33 billion less than the Pentagon is spending this year.

"Panetta also says the Pentagon's budget will grow to $567 billion by 2017."

Update at 2:17 p.m. ET. Cuts Will Not Affect U.S. Ability Defeat Adversaries:

At his press conference, which is ongoing, Panetta has made two points over and over:

-- The new military will be "smaller, leaner, but agile and flexible."

-- Despite the reduction of ground troops, the country will still have best military in world, said Panetta. "We will be capable of defeating any adversary on land," Panetta repeated twice.

"We have developed a complete package, aligned to achieve our strategic aims," Panetta said.

Update at 2:46 p.m. ET. Shrinking For First Time Since 1998:

The Washington Post reports that this is the first time the military will shrink since 1998. The $33 billion that's being cut this year is part of $487 billion that are supposed to be cut over the next decade.

The Post adds:

"Many of the cutbacks had been foreshadowed in recent months or previously reported. And while defense officials said they would be a challenge to implement, many analysts characterized them as relatively manageable.

"The proposed budget, however, could be a precursor to much steeper cuts a year from now. Under Obama's deal with Congress, an additional $600 billion in reductions over 10 years will be triggered unless the two sides can come up with an alternative plan to contain federal spending by January 2013. Panetta has called the trigger 'catastrophic' and warned that it would 'hollow out the force.'

"On Thursday, Panetta said the Obama administration would ask Congress to establish a new Base Closure and Realignment Commission, which would enforce another round of military base closures nationwide. The last round of base closures was approved by Congress in 2005."

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.