(CNN) – Sen. Lindsey Graham said the Obama administration's proposed budget "guts our defense" and ignores the need for military preparation for future conflicts.
The South Carolina Republican told CNN's Candy Crowley Sunday that if the United States were to need to take immediate military action in an international conflict, that situation would drain defense resources.
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Graham said on “State of the Union” that "440,000 members of the United States army is a gutted army. We do have a lot of technology available to our troops. Every soldier goes into battle with an array of technology and equipment not possessed in World War II. But you still need trigger pullers."
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel unveiled last week the Defense Department's spending plan for 2015 and beyond. The budget calls for shrinking the Army to pre-World War II levels, a scaling-back, he said, that "recognizes the reality of the magnitude of our fiscal challenges."
"For the first time in 13 years, we will be presenting a budget to the Congress of the United States that's not a war-footing budget," Hagel said. "That's a defining budget because it starts to reset and reshape."
Graham, a two-term senator who is facing a tough primary challenge, has been highly critical of President Barack Obama's administration, particularly on the foreign-policy front.
"This budget by President Obama guts our defense. It is the smallest army since 1940, the smallest Navy since 1915 and the smallest air force in modern history," he said.
Graham said if the United States needed to step in to stop an escalation of Iran's nuclear program, the military would have to use every B-2 and F-22 aircraft available.
"So if you're going to modernize your military for future conflicts, this budget will not allow you to do it. And the idea you're going to make - you taking off what kind of wars you're going to fight assumes the enemies of our nation will agree with you."
Dick Durbin, the Senate's second-ranking Democrat, said the budget reflects the changing environment for international conflicts, defending the Defense Department's proposed scaled-back military as a realistic necessity in the modern era.
"I have great confidence of the men and women in the military and our technology to continue to meet that challenge. But we have to acknowledge the obvious,” Durbin, of Illinois, said on CNN. "If we are going to reduce our debt for future generations, we are going to have to cut spending on the defense and non-defense sides."
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