End Strength Cuts Seen as Inevitable
The Army has offered to cut up to 15 brigade combat teams to meet defense savings goals negotiated by the White House and Congress, Inside the Army has learned.
The proposal, briefed to the high-level Deputy’s Advisory Working Group in recent weeks, offers a range of cuts in personnel that could bring the number of active-duty BCTs from 45 down to 30 in the most extreme case, according to an official familiar with the deliberations.

A plan to reorganize the Army’s premiere fighting formations has been in the works for some time. Then-Training and Doctrine Command Chief Gen. Martin Dempsey last year ordered an exploration of the effects that a plus-up of maneuver forces in BCTs would bring. The force-design move, as envisioned then, was expected to reduce the total number of BCTs by 10, but increase their size and fighting capability.
It continues, but here’s the wind-up:
From an operational perspective, fewer BCTs would mean the Army “can’t be in as many places; they can’t be in as many cities at the same time, because they won’t have the headquarters to control independent operations,” the service official said. But the goal is to retain sufficient combat power for a “big fight” as well as a set of smaller fights in which units would need to operate independently, the official added.
Some analysts see the appetite for long ground engagements, like Iraq or Afghanistan, waning among administration officials and the public. Inside the Army reported last month that Joint Staff officials readying their annual Operational Availability study had been instructed to identify force cuts that could be made under the assumption that the U.S. military would no longer take up the hugely expensive mission of rebuilding wartorn nations (ITA, July 7, p1).
As I’ve been saying, this is far more than a move against “long ground engagements,” it’s a calculated move to destroy the US’ ability to project force.
And don’t fall for the hokum about increasing size and capability.  That was a reorganization measure when it was studied.  Now, it’s a budget move, so we’ll just reduce the active duty Army combat arms forces by one third.
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