National Security

Army Plans to Cut 40K Troops, Lay Off 17K Civilian Employees Over Next Two Years

Members of U.S. Army
Members of U.S. Army / AP

The U.S. Army plans to cut 40,000 troops over the next two years, USA Today reported Tuesday.

The move, which will have both domestic and foreign policy impacts, will be supplemented by layoffs of 17,000 Army civilian employees. The official announcement of the reduction plan will come sometime this week.

From USA Today:

Under the plan, the Army would have 450,000 soldiers by the end of the 2017 budget year. The reduction in troops and civilians is due to budget constraints, the Army asserts in a document obtained by USA Today.

Some of the cuts were expected. During the peak of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army swelled to about 570,000 soldiers to ensure that deployments could be limited to one year. After most troops came home from those wars, the Army planned to shrink.

If sequestration begins in October, the losses will be even more dramatic, as the Army will have to cut an additional 30,000 troops. Such cuts would prevent the Army from meeting current deployments and regional demands.

The Army document outlines various proposed changes to comply with the cuts, such as reducing brigades at Fort Benning, Ga., and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska from units 4,000-soldiers strong to battalion task forces with only 1,050 soldiers.