Mark Collins – The Incredible Shrinking US Army

This certainly won’t increase any worries the Caliphate–or President Putin–may have about American military responses (and one doubts President Xi has many worries about the US Army):

Army plans to cut 40,000 troops

The Army plans to cut 40,000 soldiers from its ranks over the next two years, a reduction that will affect virtually all its domestic and foreign posts, the service asserts in a document obtained by USA Today.

The potential troop cut comes as the Obama administration is pondering its next moves against the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria. President Obama said Monday he and military leaders had not discussed sending additional troops to Iraq to fight the Islamic State. There are about 3,500 troops in Iraq…

An additional 17,000 Army civilian employees would also be laid off under the plan officials intend to announce this week. Under the plan, the Army would have 450,000 soldiers by the end of the 2017 budget year. The reduction in troops and civilians is due to budget constraints, the document says.

The Army declined to comment on the proposed reductions in its forces.

Among the proposed changes to reach an end-strength of 450,000:

• The number of BCTs, the Army’s primary fighting formations, will continue to reduce from a wartime high of 45 to 30 by the end of fiscal 2017. This means the Army plans to cut two more BCTs in addition to the 13 it inactivated over the last few years.
• Brigades at Fort Benning, Georgia, and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska will be downsized from units of about 4,000 soldiers to battalion task forces of 1,050 soldiers. The brigades affected are 3rd BCT, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning and 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division in Alaska…

In recent years, the Army has cut its war-time force from 570,000 to 490,000. Along with those troops cuts was a reduction of 13 of the Army’s 45 brigade combat teams.

If the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration, set to begin in October, take place, the Army would have to slash another 30,000 soldiers [emphasis added], according to the document. At that level, the Army would not be able to meet its current deployments and responding to demands for troops in other regions.

In 2013, the Army maintained in budget documents that dipping below 450,000 soldiers could prevent it from prevailing in a war.

Earlier on another service:

US Air Force Woes, Part 2

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets


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