Cutting 31,000 more soldiers
Cut the Army to 290,000. Really? That’s one of many suggestions for meeting today’s harsh budget reality imposed by the combined effects of sequestration and operating under a string of continuing resolutions.
Although the Army is in the process of trimming its size to 490,000 soldiers over the next five years, few believe that will go far enough.
“Is 490 the bottom?” Lt. Gen James Barclay, deputy chief of staff (G-8) asked. “We’re not sure.”
Army leadership has long warned that sequestration would force the service to cut 100,000 soldiers — roughly 80,000 reservists and 20,000 active-duty troops. This is in addition to the five-year reduction to 490,000 already in force.
House lawmaker worried about possible forced troop separations
As the stage is set for reducing the size of the active-duty force, a key lawmaker has concerns that cuts may be so deep they force involuntary separations — even as the services take disparate approaches to offering voluntary incentives as an alternative.
Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s military personnel panel, said Feb. 27 that he is no fan of already-planned personnel reductions and worries about the impact of even larger cuts if spending is further reduced.
“Of significant concern to me is that increasing fiscal pressure on the military services, especially the Army and Marine Corps, will |compel them to move from gradual reductions in manning levels to precipitous declines,” Wilson said. “I am also concerned that if the services are compelled to make more significant reductions than now planned, the use of involuntary separation … will become the norm.”
10,000 soldiers to return from Europe, but Vicenza’s ranks swell
Ten thousand soldiers stationed in Europe will be returned to the U.S. under new realignment plans announced by the Defense Department on March 1.
The realignment of the Europe-based 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team will begin later this year, including the transfer of some forces from Germany to Italy.
The transformation actions are part of an ongoing strategy to reduce U.S. Army Europe from a force of 40,000 soldiers, one corps headquarters and four brigade combat teams to 30,000 soldiers and two brigade combat teams. Those BCTs are the 173rd in Italy, and the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment at Vilseck, Germany.