Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will propose on Monday a reduction in the size of the U.S. military to its smallest size since before World War II and scrapping a class of Air Force attack jets, The New York Times reported late Sunday.

The plans, which the paper said were outlined by several Pentagon officials on condition of anonymity, would be aimed at reducing defense spending in the face of government austerity after a pledge by President Barack Obama to end U.S. involvement in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It would leave the military capable of defeating any enemy but too small for long foreign occupations, and would involve greater risk if U.S. forces were asked to carry out two large-scale military actions at the same time.

Specifically, officials acknowledged that winning such a war would take longer, and there would be a larger number of casualties.

The plan also would:

  • transfer the National Guard’s Apache attack helicopters to the active-duty Army, which would transfer its Black Hawk helicopters to the National Guard.

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