U.S. Army to cut combat brigades at 10 bases
The U.S. Army on Tuesday announced major force structure cuts associated with the active component end-strength of 80,000 soldiers, reducing the number of active duty combat brigades from 45 to 33, Xinhua reported.
Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno said that in addition to cutting two brigades in Germany as previously announced, the Army will cut 10 more brigades by fiscal year 2017 across the United States, including in eight states.
However, the number of battalions in the remaining brigades would be increased to three from the current two, and each brigade would be assigned more engineers, he said at a news briefing.
By reducing the number of headquarters and increasing the number of battalions per brigade, Odierno said the Army is " increasing our tooth to tail ratio."
The brigades selected for reduction included one Stryker brigade, three armored brigades, five infantry brigades and an airborne brigade.
A brigade has about 3,500 servicemembers, according to the Stars and Stripes, a Pentagon publication.
The Army reached a high of 570,000 soldiers during the peak of the Iraq war from some 482,000 soldiers in 2001. It previously announced it would reduce its end-strength to 490,000 soldiers by the end of fiscal year 2017 under the 487-billion-U.S. dollar spending cuts mandated by the 2011 Budget Control Act.
However, the cuts are likely the first round for the Army, as it doesn't take into account the across-the-board spending cuts, known as the sequester, which are set to reduce military spending by an additional 470 billion dollars by 2022.
Officials said if the sequester remains in place or isn't modified by Congress, the Army will need to consider further, deeper cuts to its force structure that could reduce the number of soldiers to well below 490,000.