Friday, February 12, 2016

Congress Pushes Back on Army Plan to Cut Tens of Thousands of Troops

Senators on the Armed Services Committee said Thursday it was time to rethink the Army's planned drawdown amid growing threats abroad, including the Islamic State group and Russia.
The senators' comments were followed later in the day by 12 House lawmakers filing a bill to block any manpower cuts.
The opposition came just as the Army unveiled its budget proposal for 2017 this week and lawmakers kicked off hearings on funding the military. Cutting soldiers was a way for the Army to save money amid spending caps imposed by Congress and resistance will likely trigger a fight over how to pay for more troops.
"It seems to me when I hear some of these threats it is time for us to think about not drawing down and how we can best protect this nation," Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, said Thursday during a hearing on the future of the service.
In 2016 and 2017, the Army is planning to cut 10,000 soldiers from the active-duty ranks, bringing the force to 460,000 soldiers. The Army National Guard would be cut by 7,000 and the Army Reserve by 3,000.
Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, criticized what he called "budget-driven" cuts that do not fit the current needs of the military.
"On the present course, we are running the risk that in a crisis, we will have too few soldiers who will enter a fight without proper training or equipment," he said.
Overall, the Army announced last summer that it planned to eventually reduce its active-duty strength from 490,000 to 450,000. The cuts would affect military bases in Georgia, Texas, Alaska, Washington and Hawaii and save about $7 billion in four years, according to the service's projections. more