Should the U.S. Army Lay Off 100,000 Soldiers?
“The Army would be slashed by more than 100,000 soldiers to a
force of 420,000 by 2019 under budget plans set to be unveiled next
So reported USA Today
last week. But not everyone is happy with the news. U.S. Army Chief of
Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno defends the Army’s current active duty
strength of 528,000 soldiers and warns that shrinking the force to even
450,000 — let alone 420,000 — would put the country at “high risk” of
being unable to fight and win a “major war.”
As Gen. Odierno tells it, reductions in defense spending, and a
100,000-plus reduction in troop strength, could force him to eliminate
half of the Army’s Brigade Combat Teams. Even before that happens, 85%
of BCTs could suffer reduced effectiveness from cuts to funding for
Some experts think they see a way to reduce the manpower and cut
expense, while retaining most of the Army’s warfighting capability — or
even enhancing it. Asked to opine on ways to reduce defense spending
without sacrificing readiness, the non-partisan Stimson Center
think tank in Washington, D.C., pointed out that right now, only about
16% of soldiers in the military actually “fight” our wars. The rest of
the 1.4 million servicemen and -women serve primarily in supporting
roles — transporting supplies, maintaining vehicles, evaluating
intelligence, and so on.
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