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AUSA concerned about Army force structure reductions

Thursday, July 30, 2015

There is no doubt that communities will suffer under these reductions.

(Army force reductions for fiscal years 2016 and 2017 will decrease the Army’s active component from 490,000 to 450,000 soldiers, and cuts Army civilian positions by 17,000.)

Beyond the local economic impact, AUSA is on record as stating that an active component force of less than 490,000 presents unacceptable risks to America’s ability to protect our interests worldwide.

This is especially true given that regional combatant commanders are asking for more land forces – not less – for engagement, exercises, training, advising and assisting, and more. Risks will be exacerbated by cutting to 450,000 active soldiers.

Things could get even worse. If sequestration continues to the end of the decade, the active Army could drop to as low as 420,000 soldiers.

At this level, the Army could not meet the demands of the current defense strategic guidance.

It is not only the Army that is affected, but the Army’s ability to meet its obligations to the rest of the joint force, fulfill various executive agency requirements done on behalf of the entire DoD, and support coalition partners with key enablers.

Clearly, numbers like 450,000 or 420,000 have no real meaning to the public because there is no frame of reference; 450,000 sounds sufficient.

But significant reductions at local bases will get some attention, certainly by members of Congress who have constituents there.

Our hope is that the announcement of these reductions will be enough to change course, but that is an open question at this point.

Finally, it is important to note that these reductions (to 450,00 active soldiers) are all coming from the active Army, with the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve remaining relatively stable.

This is recognition of the vital role that the Army’s reserve forces play in a Total Army.

However, in the next round of cuts, I think you can expect the Guard and Reserve to feel significant impacts as well.