Army to Reduce Active Duty Soldiers by Another 30,000

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The U.S. Army must reduce the number of soldiers in its active rolls by 30,000 in the next 17 months in order to drawdown forces to 450,000 by 2017, according to the Army Times.

As of April 1, there were 519,786 active soldiers, down from 550,000 in October 2012.

Budget pressures are forcing the drawdown of forces to be accelerated, according to the Army Times.

Because of budget pressures, the pace of the ongoing drawdown has been accelerated, so that active component manning is slated to hit 490,000 by the end of fiscal 2015, which is 23,000 fewer soldiers than previously planned.

In budget testimony and documents presented to Congress early this spring, Army leaders indicated the drawdown will continue through the end of 2017, when manning will hit 450,000 to 440,000.

If lawmakers do not ease the threat of further cuts, called sequestration, the active component could reach 420,000 by the end of the decade, according to Pentagon sources.

The Army’s drawdown strategy features a combination of reduced recruiting and re-enlistment missions, early outs for short-timers who are headed to college or are in units scheduled for inactivation, and strict enforcement of disciplinary and performance standards. The strategy also includes selective early retirement and reduction-in-force boards for officers, and separation and early retirement boards for NCOs who are in overstrength career fields and specialties.