April 14, 2024

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Army cuts thousands of jobs to focus on Russia and China

Army cuts thousands of jobs to focus on Russia and China

The US Army is eliminating 24,000 sites as the Pentagon continues to shift its priority to confronting Chinese and Russian military power after two decades of focusing on the war against terrorism, according to a new Army document.

The cuts are in line with the National Defense Strategy initiated by President Donald J. Trump and largely endorsed by the Biden administration that emphasizes growing threats to the United States from Russia and China.

Army numbers swelled to nearly 600,000 during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but the end of those conflicts contributed to a steady decline as soldiers returned to the garrison.

job cuts, The Associated Press reported this earlierIt also implicitly acknowledges the recruiting problems that have plagued the Army — and indeed other military services — in recent years. The Army, Navy and Air Force failed to meet recruiting goals last year. Army officials travel to college campuses in urban areas to try to tap underrepresented communities for recruits.

The new document says the cuts “will allow the Army to narrow the gap between the force structure, which was designed to accommodate 494,000 soldiers, and the current end strength for active duty, which is set by law at 445,000 soldiers.” The goal now, according to the document, is to raise the army's strength to 470,000 soldiers.

Defense Department officials say several issues have hampered the recruiting process. They point out that the percentage of young Americans who are qualified and interested in military service has decreased. The low unemployment rate also means that young people have other options.

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“The Army will reduce redundant, largely unmanned, ‘hollow’ force structures and build new formations equipped with new capabilities required for large-scale combat operations,” the document said. “By bringing the force structure and end force into closer alignment, the Army will ensure its formations are populated at the appropriate level to maintain a high state of readiness.”

Defense Department officials said last year that the Army planned to lay off about 3,000 positions from its special operations forces. An official said on Tuesday that this number would reach 24,000.

For more than 20 years, U.S. military leaders and senior defense officials have worried about whether the focus on fighting counterinsurgency has left the military unprepared for a ground war with great powers.

But even as the Pentagon continues to shift toward the latter option, events in the Middle East sparked by Hamas's October 7 attack on Israel and Israel's retaliatory campaign in Gaza as a result have underscored that the Pentagon — and the military — will have to do both. And perhaps for years to come.

Pentagon officials say that challenge continues to push an already overstretched military. Added to this is the uncertainty surrounding the Pentagon budget since 2011, when mandatory spending limits were put in place.

“The things that we are reducing in our formations are actually things that are not going to make us successful on the battlefield going forward,” Gen. Randy George, the Army Chief of Staff, told reporters Tuesday during a breakfast hosted by the Defense Writers Foundation. group.

The Army has other capabilities that “we want to grow and add,” he said, including those that help protect troops and Americans from drone attacks, missiles and even ballistic missiles.

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