By the end of September in 2018, the U.S. Army expects to carry out a comprehensive brigades realignment by shrinking its size from 490,000 to 450,000 due to budget constraints, according to a statement released by U.S. Defense Department on Thursday.
During the same period, the Army service will also draw down in size several brigade combat teams and cut 17,000 civilian employees, the statement said. The reduction of force structure will occur in fiscal years 2016 and 2017. The end-strength reduction of the 40,000 soldiers and the 17,000 civilians will be completed by the end of fiscal year 2018.
The cuts will affect nearly every Army installation in the United States and overseas. There are a total of 30 installations among the list where changes would be made.
Among the 30 installations, there are six that will be heavily affected with shrink of more than 1,000 soldiers each. These locations include 3,402 soldiers at Fort Benning, Georgia; 3,350 soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas; 2,631 soldiers at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; 1,251 soldiers at Joint Base Lewis- McChord, Washington; 1,214 soldiers at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; and 1,219 soldiers at Fort Bliss, Texas.
Among civilians, there will be a 17,000-person reduction in fiscal years 2016 and 2017. The Army has said that these reductions can be achieved through attrition and by not filling currently unfilled positions. The Army has already cut the civilian workforce by 8,000. The additional 17,000 cuts will mean a total loss of 25,000 Army civilians by fiscal year 2017.
The statement said the army will try to draw down the active force and strength gradually in order to “minimize the turbulence we have with soldiers and their families.”
In 2012, the regular Army of U.S. had an end strength of about 570,000 soldiers. In 2013, the Army announced a drawdown of 80,000, that brought the size of the Army to 490,000 Soldiers at present.
Budget constraints are forcing the Army’s reduction, said Joseph Anderson, the Army’s deputy chief of staff for operations and plans at a Pentagon press conference on Thursday.
“These were very difficult decisions to make as all of our installations and their communities offer tremendous value to our Army and the nation,” he said. “In the end, we had to make decisions based on a number of strategic factors, to include readiness impacts, mission command and cost.”
Analysts said if no change takes place in the budget in the coming years, the Army’s end-strength will be further reduced to 420,000 soldiers by the end of fiscal 2019, resulting in a cumulative loss of 150,000 soldiers from the regular Army, a 26 percent cut over a seven-year period.
The resulting force, they noted, would be incapable of simultaneously meeting the country’s current deployment requirements and responding to the overseas contingency requirements of the combatant commands. Enditem