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A-10 Warthog budget cuts decision met with fierce criticism from lawmakers

The recent A-10 Warthog budget cuts decision proposed by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has ignited a political firestorm because the move means that the A-10 Warthog, an aircraft that’s been a critical part of the U.S. military for decades, will be eliminated. The controversial plan will overhaul the nation's military and will save $3.5 billion over five years, says a Feb. 25 report from FOX.

The A-10 Warthog budget cuts decision also means that the U.S. military would be reduced to its pre- WWII size.

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"Hagel said it was a “close call” to drop the A-10, but he backed the decision to retire what he called an outdated aircraft. The Air Force has indicated before that it could retire the A-10 with Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter on the way Chuck Hagel," The CS Monitor reports.

Downsizing due to budgetary constraints and modernization began under Hagel's predecessor , Robert Gates, and the proposal was described Monday as a new phase of change.

Although the A-10 Warthog budget cuts proposal was praised by most Democrats, many GOP members strongly criticized the move. Rep. Candice Miller was among those who rejected Hagel's plan to retire the A-10 Warthog fleet.

“Those of us who strongly recognize the important role the National Guard plays in defending our nation will not back down in ensuring that role is not diminished,” expressed Miller, who is the vice chairwoman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

Other lawmakers, such as Arizona Congressman Ron Barber, a Democrat, are requesting that the Air Force and Pentagon postpone the plan to retire the A-10 Warthog. Barber says the F-35 isn't ready to fulfill the duties of the A-10 as of yet.

“I have consistently fought that proposal and will continue to do so,” Barber explained. The A-10 “plays a crucial role in protecting our troops on the ground -- a role that cannot be suitably replicated by any other aircraft in the military inventory,” he concluded.