Army Announces Major Troop Cutbacks

The US Army will be reducing the size of its force by nearly 5 percent as it restructures to better position itself to fight the next major war, the Associated Press reported.

The approximately 24,000 cuts will primarily be in posts that are already empty and not through reducing the number of actual serving troops.

An Army report determined that the service had been “significantly overstructured” leading to too few soldiers to fill existing units. The Army described the cuts as “spaces” not “faces” and said no serving soldiers would be asked to leave.

The reductions will include cutting empty posts related to the counterinsurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq that are no longer needed today. About 3,000 reductions would come from vacant positions in special operations.

At the same time, the Army will add 7,500 troops in critical mission areas, including counter-drone units and air defense, as well as through the formation of five new task forces featuring enhanced intelligence, cyber, and long-range strike capabilities.

In a press conference on February 27, Secretary of the Army Christine Warmuth told reporters that she and Army Chief Gen. Randy George sought to trim back the number of areas where there were either excess or empty slots. She said the reduction reflected the Army’s move away from counterinsurgency and counterterrorism “to be better postured for large-scale combat operations.”

Gen. George explained that a great deal of analysis went into deciding which areas to cut, focusing on areas the Army determined were unnecessary “to make us successful on the battlefield going forward.”

The Army has been unable to fill thousands of posts for years. In its current structure, the US Army could have as many as 494,000 active-duty soldiers. However, the total number is currently around 445,000.

Under the planned reductions, the Army is hoping to reach 470,000 active-duty troops over the next five years.

The Army plans to cut 10,000 positions for engineers involved in counter-insurgency missions. Another 2,700 cuts will come for rarely deployed units while 6,500 positions in various posts including training will also be cut.

About 10,000 posts from various brigades and forces, including cavalry squadrons, various combat teams, and security force assistance brigades, will also be cut.