Saturday, January 24, 2015

Army leaders now hope to slow the drawdown

Army leaders now hope to slow the drawdown: The Army is considering taking measures to slow the drawdown, though the service still plans to eventually reach an end-strength of 450,000 active-duty troops.

Army Secretary John McHugh, in a Wednesday interview with Army Times, said he hopes to "retain some faces in our structure to fill out units that are undermanned."

The Army is on pace to hit 490,000 active-duty soldiers by the end of fiscal year 2015. It also is slated to cut about 20,000 soldiers every year to reach 450,000 by the end of fiscal 2017.

However, senior Army leaders are discussing extending that timeline an additional year — that is if sequestration can be avoided in 2016.

"Assuming budget relief occurs, the Army could retain some flexibility as it downsizes and slow the ramp to reach 440-450 thousand in FY18," said Lt. Col. Christopher Kasker, public affairs officer to the Army Secretary. " In any event, the end-state of 440-450 remains fixed as long as sequestration is averted. Congress would have to grant us this authority in the budget."

McHugh told Army Times that adjusting the "ramp" of the drawdown "provides us a little bit of relief, basically for readiness purposes."