Defense Secretary Leon Panetta unveiled a plan Thursday that would cut nearly a half-trillion dollars from the defense budget over the next decade by retiring older planes and ships, delaying some projects and shrinking U.S. ground forces by about 100,000.

The plan would reduce the size of the Army by 80,000 soldiers by 2017, bringing the force size to a level slightly larger than it was on 9/11. Amid concerns from some lawmakers that the cuts would endanger security, Panetta cast the proposal as a response to changing times.

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