This should be much bigger news. Via the Army Times:
The Army is preparing to launch in March a five-year, nearly 50,000-soldier drawdown, using a combination of accession cuts and voluntary and involuntary separations, similar to the post-Cold War drawdown of the 1990s, according to Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, service personnel chief.
Bostick, the Army G-1, said the pending drawdown initially will focus on the temporary 22,000-soldier increase launched three years ago to support the Afghanistan troop surge.
These soldiers can be removed from the force primarily through offsets in accessions and retention, sources say.
The second phase of the drawdown involves 27,000 soldier spaces that were added to end strength during the Grow the Army program, leaving the service with 520,400 active-duty soldiers on Sept. 30, 2016.
Gen. Ray Odierno, the service’s new chief of staff, said in early September that the Army probably will be cut beyond the 520,000-soldier level now planned.
Why the worry? The military already faces cuts of $350 billion. But if the budget “supercommittee” fails to come up with $1.2 trillion in cuts this winter, the defense budget will automatically be slashed by another $600 billion.
From the Fox News:
Nearly 200,000 soldiers and Marines would be let go, and the Armed Service Committee members warn that at least 25 percent of the military’s civilian workforce would be furloughed, eliminating at least 200,000 jobs.
And finding employment for returning veterans will be difficult, they warn. The national unemployment rate is currently 9 percent, but unemployment for Iraq and Afghan war vets is 22 percent, and it is 41 percent for wounded vets.
If the deficit super committee fails to reach an agreement, the number of Army battalions will go from 100 to about 60 battalions. The number of Navy ships will go from 288 to 238 – a reduction of two Aircraft Carrier Battle groups. The Air Force would lose more than 400 fighter jets and about 34 strategic bombers.
Hollow force isn’t the word for it. We can’t cut entitlements, but we can cripple our military and remain incapable of defending ourselves. Priorities a decade after 9/11!
Linked by Pundette as a “Recommended Read.” Thanks!