US Army to downsize, lay off 40,000 soldiers by 2018

Washington, July 10 (IANS) The US Army has announced that it will cut 40,000 soldiers by the end of 2018, shrinking its size from 490,000 to 450,000 due to budget constraints, an official statement said.

The statement issued by the US Department of Defense on Thursday said the reduction of force structure will occur in fiscal years 2016 and 2017. The end-strength reduction of 40,000 will be completed by the end of 2018, and will be accompanied by a reduction of 17,000 army civilian employees.

The army will convert the 3rd Infantry Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team at Fort Benning, Georgia, and the 25th Infantry Division’s 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, into smaller units — manoeuvre battalion task forces — by the end of 2017.

The statement said the army would try to draw down the active force and strength gradually in order to “minimise the turbulence we have with soldiers and their families”.

In 2012, the regular army of the US had a 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 Lt Gen Joseph Anderson, US 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.”

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