More budget cuts could make life leaner for top Pentagon brass

Posted at 3:03 PM, Jul 17, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-17 15:03:55-04

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, the former enlisted man who earned his sergeant stripes as a grunt in the jungles of Vietnam, is cutting the budgets of the Pentagon’s top brass by 20%.

And he’s sharing the pain, cutting his own office budget by a like amount.

“Early estimates indicate that the total savings could be in the range of $1.5-$2 billion,” Pentagon press secretary George Little said in a statement released Tuesday night.

Much of the money savings will come from a cut in the number of people working for the Department of Defense leaders, but there’s no word yet on how many people might lose their positions.

“Personnel reductions associated with these savings will be determined during the development of detailed execution plans,” Little said.

The plan goes into effect in October 2014 and will last until 2019.

Budget cutting has been a main priority at the Defense Department for several years, even before Hagel took over.

The Pentagon said this is not one of the budget issues that can be reversed when sequestration goes away.

“These cuts will be implemented even if Congress lifts sequester-level budget caps,” Little said.