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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wants to cut the Pentagon budget, but the stocks of many defense contractors are going up. We hear what Hagel's proposing, what it means for national security and the likely response from Congress. Also, Russian President Putin calls for military exercises near a volatile Ukraine, and potentially good news about childhood obesity.

Banner image: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey brief reporters on the defense budget proposal at the Pentagon, February 24, 2014. DOD photo by US Army Staff Sgt. Sean K. Harp  

Putin Calls for Military Exercises near Volatile Ukraine 7 MIN, 49 SEC

Russian President Vladimir Putin today ordered a surprise military exercise of ground forces near the eastern border of troubled Ukraine. In Crimea, part of Ukraine itself, thousands of ethnic Russians are protesting the overthrow of former President Viktor Yanukovych. Steven Lee Myers is in Moscow for the New York Times.

Steven Lee Myers, New York Times (@stevenleemyers)

Occupational Hazards

David M. Edelstein

Cuts in the Pentagon: Too Much or Not Enough? 34 MIN, 55 SEC

Ground wars like those in Iraq and Afghanistan, at 13 years the longest in American history, are things of the past. Defense against Chinese cyber-warriors or terrorists in Africa won't require tanks, warplanes or massive armies. That's the theory behind Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's proposed cuts in the Pentagon budget. But weapons and manpower mean jobs and corporate profits. Every program Hagel wants on the chopping block has a constituency. Is he really proposing to cut to the core or just scratching the surface of a military bigger than all the rest in the world combined?


Dion Nissenbaum, Wall Street Journal (@DionNissenbaum)
Gordon Adams, American University / Foreign Policy magazine (@Gadams1941)
Kori Schake, Hoover Institution (@KoriSchake)
David M Edelstein, Georgetown University

Adams' 'Buying National Security: How America Plans and Pays for Its Global Role and Security at Home'
Doyle McManus on Hagel's nuclear exemption
Edelstein's 'Occupational Hazards: Success and Failure in Military Occupation'
Nissenbaum on budget focusing on changing threats
Schake's 'Managing American Hegemony: Essays on Power in a Time of Dominance'
Senators McCain, Graham on defense budget proposal

Early Childhood Obesity Fallen Greatly 8 MIN, 25 SEC

For the first time since childhood obesity was called "epidemic," a study shows it's declining among very young children. A paper in today's edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that obesity has dropped from 14% to 8% among children between the ages of two and five. It's the work of a researcher at the Centers for Disease Control. Zach Goldfarb, staff writer for the Washington Post, has more on the results as well as some theories about why that's happening.

Zachary Goldfarb, Washington Post (@Goldfarb)

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