The U.S. Army is cutting 40,000 troops over the course of the next two years. The reduction in the military fighting force will impact all Army domestic and foreign posts, according to USA Today. The cuts in the number of active duty soldiers comes as ISIS ranks continue to increase, and President Obama is still working on a plan to address the terrorism threats posed by the Islamic State.
On Monday, Obama told military officials at the Pentagon that he and top generals had not yet discussed the possibility of putting more boots on the ground to fight ISIS. There are currently 3,500 American soldiers in Iraq.
“This will not be quick — this is a long-term campaign,” President Obama stated after he met with Pentagon officials.
In addition to the 40,000 troops which will be cut from the U.S. Army, a total of 17,000 civilian employees are also reportedly set to lose their jobs. If the troop reduction and civilian staffer plan to be released by the Pentagon later this week is not altered, the Army will reportedly have just 450,000 soldiers in the ranks by September 30, 2017. The plan reportedly blamed the cutting of tens of thousands of troops on budget constraints.
Brookings Institution military analyst Michael O’Hanlon said the Army should “bottom out” at 450,000 soldiers. O’Hanlon added that cutting the numbers of troops any further would make him “quite nervous.”
If the sequestration budget cuts kick in in October as dictated, the Army would reportedly be forced to cut 30,000 soldiers. The Pentagon plan reportedly notes that if the troop levels are cut to such a degree, the United States Military would not be able to “respond to demands for troops” in other regions. The Pentagon document did not address why the 40,000 troop reduction was not adjusted to accommodate the sequestration automatic budget cuts figure.
The Army cuts reportedly include downsizing of brigades at Fort Benning, Georgia, and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska. The base units, consisting of approximately of 4,000 soldiers, will reportedly be reduced to battalion task forces of 1,050 soldiers.
Republican Senator Dan Sullivan said that reducing the troop levels at the base in Alaska “makes no strategic sense.” The Senator noted the emphasis he feels the Obama administration has placed on moving military assets to the Asian-Pacific region, as concerns about Russian aggression in the Arctic area mount. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, two pairs of Russian bombers were intercepted by the U.S. Military off the coasts of Alaska and California on the Fourth of July.
“One person who’s going to be very pleased with this is Vladimir Putin,” Senator Sullivan added.
Two years ago, U.S. Army budget reports indicated that allowing troop levels to dip below 450,000 soldiers might prevent America from “prevailing” in a war.
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