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The Army has disclosed that it has cut 80,000 soldiers since 2010 and plans to reduce the force by another 40,000 by the end of 2017, bringing the total active number of troops to 450,000, according to a report to Congress that was recently released under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
“Nearly every Army installation will experience reductions of some size,” according to the report, which was obtained and released by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).
It warns of a “permanent reduction of sizable numbers of members of the Armed Forces,” which translates to a 21 percent total cut across the board.
“Significant structure cuts at overseas installations have already occurred,” according to the report.
The Army will be forced to further cut its budget in 2018 and beyond, according to the report
“These force structure reductions and the resulting impacts on installation populations could be significant to both military communities and to the defense posture of our nation.”
At least six Army installations will see their forces cut by more than 1,000 soldiers, according to the report. These include Fort Benning in Georgia, Fort Bliss in Texas, Fort Hood in Texas, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska, Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, and Schofield Barracks in Hawaii.
The continuing cuts come as the military faces massive and ongoing budget cuts that have not only reduced the forces but have also impacted the purchase and maintenance of military hardware.
While experts have expressed concerns about the United States’ ability to combat threats across the globe on multiple fronts, the Army maintains that the reduced force will not harm its abilities.
“The Army will continue to be a force that can deploy and sustain capabilities across the range of military operations anywhere in the world on short notice,” according to the report.
Still, “force structure reductions and the resulting impacts on installation populations could be significant to both military communities and to the defense posture of our nation,” the Army says in the report.
An additional number of posts in the civilian Army workforce will also be eliminated by 2019, the report states.
The report includes an evaluation of the “the local economic, strategic, and operational consequences of the reductions at” the six installations mentioned above.
The cuts were spread “broadly” across the force “in terms of geography and organizationally,” according to the report. “There simply was not one segment of the Army that could sustain the entirety of the cuts.”
Soldiers will likely experience an interruption in their lives, though the Army is seeking to minimize this.
“The Army will employ all possible measures to minimize personnel turbulence (to both Soldiers and their Families) associated with the force structure reductions on the six installations in question,” the report states. “There will be instances where Soldiers (and Families) will depart an installation on an accelerated timeline.”
Local economies also will be impacted by the cuts. These include direct losses from government contract service jobs that will be cut, as well as “indirect job losses that would occur in the community because of a reduction in demand for goods and services.”
Meanwhile, President Obama vetoed on Thursday a massive defense spending bill that would fund military operations across the globe and provide troops with a pay raise.