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Troop Size: How Big Should the U.S. Army Be?

army a go go

By Debbie Gregory.

The United States has higher military spending than any other country so that we can defend our borders, uphold international order and promote American interests abroad. Congress is taxed with increasing the size of the Army in 2018, but the House and Senate have not been able to agree on how many more soldiers the service should add.

The House has called for the Army to add 17,000 soldiers, 10,000 to the active force and 7,000 to the National Guard and Reserves, but the Senate only wants to add about 6,000 soldiers, 5,000 active-duty soldiers and 1,000 reservists and National Guard members.

The Senate expressed concerns that adding 17,000 more soldiers to the force next year could force the Army to reduce its recruiting and retention standards, a problem the branch has faced in the past during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“No one wants to see the Army allowing anyone who can’t meet the current standards into the uniform,” one of the officials said. “That is not a place we can afford to go back to.”

Past administrations have increased military spending, but usually in order to fulfill a specific mission, such as Jimmy Carter’s expanded operations in the Persian Gulf, Ronald Reagan’s arms race with the Soviet Union, and George W. Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The White House and Pentagon has said Trump’s promised increases to the military force size, including the Army, would begin with his fiscal year 2019 budget.

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.

Thornberry’s Bill Would Increase Troop Size

macmac

By Debbie Gregory.

Rep. Mac Thornberry has introduced a defense bill that would increase, rather than decrease, the size of the U.S. Army.

Thornberry has floated a brash plan to get around spending limits on the military. His defense budget dramatically boosts spending by $16 billion, pumping that money into the Army and troop pay as well as training, equipment and facilities.

The money would not only stop the Army from drawing down 15,000 soldiers in the coming year, it would add another 5,000.

His bill also aims to add an additional 15,000 troops to the National Guard, bringing the count up to 350,000, and 10,000 to the Reserves, for a total Reserve strength of 205,000. The bill would increase the strength of the Marine Corps by 3,000 and the Air Force by 4,000.

The size of the Army has been a major concern among lawmakers, many of whom have stated that the active force is too small to deal with the growing number of threats facing the U.S.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the plan is “deeply troubling and flawed” and that Thornberry is gambling with money for troops on the battlefield during a time of war.

Thornberry’s revised budget earmarks just over $2 billion in additional funding for the troop increase, according to language in the bill. That’s about $2.5 billion short of what the Army would need, according to Army senior leaders who have said that it will cost about $1 billion for every 10,000 soldiers.

“The proposal is designed to restore strength to the force through readiness investments and agility through much needed reforms, while providing a more solid foundation for the next President to address actual national security needs,” according to the bill’s summary.

Thornberry said the military is already suffering due to a lack of spending and it is “fundamentally wrong to send servicemembers out on missions for which they are not fully prepared or fully supported.”

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.

How Big Should the Army Be?

armyreduction

By Debbie Gregory.

As the U.S. winds down the Afghan war, the government has been eyeing a much reduced military force, with numbers at the lowest level since World War II. The downsizing is also due to defense cuts mandated by Congress.

The 2011 Budget Control Act required $500 billion in defense cuts over a decade, on top of $487 billion already planned.

The Army had drafted plans to reduce its troop size to 420,000 by 2021. But when the plan to reduce troop levels to that number was drafted, it did not take into account a sizable continuing force in Afghanistan and the need to defend against ISIS.

According to a report by a congressionally appointed commission, the size of the Army should not fall below 450,000 active-duty troops and 530,000 reservists for the foreseeable future.

The commission has also recommended that the Army add an armored brigade in Europe and leave an aviation brigade in South Korea.

“An Army of 980,000 is the minimally sufficient force to meet current and anticipated missions at an acceptable level of national risk,” said an executive summary of the report by the National Commission on the Future of the Army.

Former senior Army and Pentagon leaders who took part in the commission included: retired generals Carter Ham, Larry Ellis, and James D. Thurman, former assistant secretary of the Army Thomas Lamont, retired Sgt. Maj. Raymond Chandler, former Pentagon comptroller Bob Hale, former deputy under-secretary of defense for policy Kathleen Hicks, and retired Lt. Gen. Jack Stultz.

Lawmakers reached a two-year agreement that would reduce the level of cuts for 2016 and 2017, but the cuts are slated to return in 2018. But even if the cuts remain in place, the Army may still reduce to 420,000 personnel.

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.