WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of the Army today announced force structure decisions and stationing plans for the reduction of the Regular Army from 490,000 to 450,000 Soldiers. This reduction of 40,000 Soldiers will occur in fiscal years 2016 and 2017. This represents a cumulative cut of 120,000 Soldiers from the Regular Army, or 21 percent, since 2012. These will be accompanied by a reduction of approximately 17,000 Department of the Army Civilian employees.
Driven by fiscal constraints resulting from the Budget Control Act of 2011 and defense strategic and budgetary guidance, these cuts will impact nearly every Army installation, both in the continental United States and overseas.
As part of these reductions, the number of Regular Army brigade combat teams, the basic deployable units of maneuver in the Army, will continue to be reduced from a wartime high of 45 in 2012 to 30 by the end of fiscal year 2017. The Army will convert both the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning, Georgia and the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska into maneuver battalion task forces by the end of fiscal year 2017. Additionally, the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division will remain at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, but will convert to a two-maneuver battalion infantry brigade combat team.
The Army was directed to make reductions, and did so in a strategically considered approach to preserve warfighting capability and avoid a hollow force as the Army faces continuing fiscal pressures.
In addition to reorganizing the operational force, the Army is reducing the size of two-star-and-above headquarters and cutting the civilian workforce.
If current law budget caps, commonly referred to as sequestration, are not addressed, end-strength will be further reduced to 420,000 Soldiers by FY2019. This will result in a cumulative loss of 150,000 Soldiers from the Regular Army – a 26 percent cut over a seven year period. The resulting force would be incapable of simultaneously meeting current deployment requirements and responding to the overseas contingency requirements of the combatant commands.”