New Approach to Growing Army Force Numbers


By Debbie Gregory.

The U.S. Army, like the other service branches, is struggling to maintain strong force numbers.

In the not-too-distant past, there was talk of a troop drawdown. But now Army recruiters are facing a significant challenge to increase their numbers and reach their target goal.

To that end, the Army has launched a pilot program to bring Active, Guard and Reserve recruiting under one mission.

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Snow, commander of Army Recruiting Command, was able to exceed the active troop goal by more than 300 soldiers, but fell short on the numbers for the Reserve component by 1,228 soldiers.

Since some of those soldiers may have gone to the Army National Guard, which recruits separately from the Army active and Reserve components, bringing the Army’s Active, Reserve and National Guard recruiting under one umbrella makes sense.

“The Army has obviously got three components; we only recruit for two of those in this command,” Snow said. “United States Army Recruiting Command has responsibility for two components — that’s Reserve and Active.”

Recruiting all three components as one Army would mean “we leverage recruiters to recruit for all three components, which I have always felt this is the right thing to do,” said Snow. Additionally, it would benefit the National Guard because there are some parts of the country where the Guard struggles to meet its numbers.

To reach last year’s target of 69,000 recruits, the Army accepted more people who did poorly on aptitude tests, increased the number of waivers granted, and offered hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Army Troop Levels Lowest Since WWII


By Debbie Gregory.

The Army is juggling global operations as it continues to deal with the lowest troop levels since before World War II.

In March, the Army has had approximately 2,600 soldiers depart active service without being replaced, leaving the end strength at 479,172 soldiers.  The Army’s reserve forces total 548,024 soldiers, (348,463 soldiers in the Army National Guard and 199,561 with the Army Reserve) for a total force of 1,027,196 soldiers.

The number of women serving on active duty April 1 stood at 69,171, a total that includes 15,654 officers, 52,698 enlisted soldiers and 819 West Point cadets.

The female population of the Regular Army was reduced by 340 members in March.

During the past year, the size of the active force has been reduced by 16,548 soldiers.

The Army is on track to achieve, or exceed, the budgeted end-strength of 475,000 soldiers by the end of September.

The drawdown is expected to continue for two additional years, with an end-strength goal 460,000 soldiers in 2017, and 450,000 in 2018.

Rep. Chris Gibson, R-NY has introduced legislation to stop ongoing drawdowns for the Army and Marine Corps, potentially adding 55,000 soldiers back into Army plans. He argued the world is less safe than it was when the Obama administration announced the troop cuts, pointing to threats from the Islamic State group, Russia, China and North Korea.

The Army estimated its reductions of about 40,000 troops would save $7 billion over four years, officials said when they were announced in July. The reduced troop levels were attributed to mandatory spending caps under the 2011 Budget Control Act.

In a major war overseas, at 980,000 soldiers, the Army would not have enough troops to provide them with “dwell time,” the rotation home which has been common in recent conflicts.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Troops to Remain in Afghanistan: Military Connection

president obama saying Troops to Remain in Afghanistan

By Debbie Gregory.

In a stark reversal from earlier pledges to end the war on his watch, President Obama halted the withdrawal of American military forces from Afghanistan. The announcement that the United States will keep thousands of troops in the country indefinitely will prolong the American role in the 14-year war.

While Mr. Obama said he continued to oppose the idea of “endless war,” the decision follows months of appeals from military leaders to extend the draw down timeline. And it marks an acknowledgement that, despite claims Al Qaeda is on the run, militants continue to pose a serious threat to the country.

“While America’s combat mission in Afghanistan may be over, our commitment to Afghanistan and its people endures,” said Mr. Obama.

Under the new plan, the administration will keep the current force of 9,800 troops in Afghanistan through most of next year, then draw down to 5,500 troops in 2017, at a pace still to be determined by commanders.

The decision, which was reached after a lengthy review leaves the “how” and “when” of ending the war in Afghanistan to Obama’s successor.

The current American force in Afghanistan of 9,800 troops will remain in place through most of 2016 under the administration’s revised plans, before dropping to about 5,500 at the end of next year or in early 2017, Mr. Obama said. He called it a “modest but meaningful expansion of our presence” in that country.

According to the United Nations, the Taliban are now more widespread throughout Afghanistan than at any point since 2001. Just last month, the Taliban scored their biggest victory to date, seizing Kunduz and holding it for more than two weeks before pulling back.

President Obama conceded that despite our best efforts, and years of building the Afghan Army and police force, the Afghan forces are still not fully up to the task of protecting their country.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.