UNITED STATES

US Army is slashing thousands of posts in major revamp to prepare for future wars

Feb 27, 2024, 7:30 PM

FILE: Aerial photo of the Pentagon in Arlington, Virgina. The U.S. Army is slashing the size of its...

FILE: Aerial photo of the Pentagon in Arlington, Virgina. The U.S. Army is slashing the size of its force by about 24,000, or almost 5%, and restructuring to be better able to fight the next major war. (Andy Dunaway /USAF via Getty Images)

(Andy Dunaway /USAF via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Army is slashing the size of its force by about 24,000, or almost 5%, and restructuring to be better able to fight the next major war, as the service struggles with recruiting shortfalls that made it impossible to bring in enough soldiers to fill all the jobs.

The cuts will mainly be in already-empty posts — not actual soldiers — including in jobs related to counterinsurgency that swelled during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars but are not needed as much today. About 3,000 of the cuts would come from Army special operations forces.

At the same time, however, the plan will add about 7,500 troops in other critical missions, including air-defense and counter-drone units and five new task forces around the world with enhanced cyber, intelligence and long-range strike capabilities.

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said she and Gen. Randy George, the Army chief, worked to thin out the number of places where they had empty or excess slots.

“We’re moving away from counterterrorism and counterinsurgency. We want to be postured for large-scale combat operations,” Wormuth told reporters on Tuesday. “So we looked at where were there pieces of force structure that were probably more associated with counterinsurgency, for example, that we don’t need anymore.”

George added that Army leaders did a lot of analysis to choose the places to cut.

“The things that we want to not have in our formation are actually things that we don’t think are going to make us successful on the battlefield going forward,” he said.

According to an Army document, the service is “significantly overstructured” and there aren’t enough soldiers to fill existing units. The cuts, it said, are “spaces” not “faces” and the Army will not be asking soldiers to leave the force.

Instead, the decision reflects the reality that for years the Army hasn’t been able to fill thousands of empty posts. While the Army as it’s currently structured can have up to 494,000 soldiers, the total number of active-duty soldiers right now is about 445,000.

Under the new plan, the goal is to bring in enough troops over the next five years to reach a level of 470,000.

The planned overhaul comes after two decades of war in Iraq and Afghanistan that forced the Army to quickly and dramatically expand in order to fill the brigades sent to the battlefront. That included a massive counterinsurgency mission to battle al-Qaida, the Taliban and the Islamic State group.

Over time the military’s focus has shifted to great power competition from adversaries such as China and Russia, and threats from Iran and North Korea. And the war in Ukraine has shown the need for greater emphasis on air-defense systems and high-tech abilities both to use and counter airborne and sea-based drones.

Army leaders said they looked carefully across the board at all the service’s job specialties in search of places to trim. And they examined the ongoing effort to modernize the Army, with new high-tech weapons, to determine where additional forces should be focused.

According to the plan, the Army will cut about 10,000 spaces for engineers and similar jobs that were tied to counter-insurgency missions. An additional 2,700 cuts will come from units that don’t deploy often and can be trimmed, and 6,500 will come from various training and other posts.

There also will be about 10,000 posts cut from cavalry squadrons, Stryker brigade combat teams, infantry brigade combat teams and security force assistance brigades, which are used to train foreign forces.

The changes represent a significant shift for the Army to prepare for large-scale combat operations against more sophisticated enemies. But they also underscore the steep recruiting challenges that all of the military services are facing.

In the last fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, the Navy, Army and Air Force all failed to meet their recruitment goals, while the Marine Corps and the tiny Space Force met their targets. The Army brought in a bit more than 50,000 recruits, falling well short of the publicly stated “stretch goal” of 65,000.

The previous fiscal year, the Army also missed its enlistment goal by 15,000. That year the goal was 60,000.

In response, the service launched a sweeping overhaul of its recruiting last fall to focus more on young people who have spent time in college or are job hunting early in their careers. And it is forming a new professional force of recruiters, rather than relying on soldiers randomly assigned to the task.

In discussing the changes at the time, Wormuth acknowledged that the service hasn’t been recruiting well “for many more years than one would think from just looking at the headlines in the last 18 months.” The service, she said, hasn’t met its annual goal for new enlistment contracts since 2014.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

United States

ftc building shown, a new rule would bar noncompete agreements for most...

CHRISTOPHER RUGABER AP Economics Writer

New federal rule would bar ‘noncompete’ agreements for most employees

The Federal Trade Commission voted Tuesday 3-2 to ban measures known as noncompete agreements.

26 minutes ago

A TikTok content creator, sits outside the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, April 23, 2024....

HALELUYA HADERO AP Business Writer

Senate passes bill forcing TikTok parent company to sell or face ban, sends to Biden for signature

The Senate passed legislation that would force the parent company of TikTok to sell the social media platform under the threat of a ban.

11 hours ago

Columbia University students participate in an ongoing pro-Palestinian encampment on their campus f...

NICK PERRY and KAREN MATTHEWS Associated Press

Students at Columbia and nationwide are upping Gaza war protests

Students across the nation set up encampments, occupied buildings and ignored demands to leave Tuesday.

14 hours ago

The Chicago Bears logo is pictured on a flag prior to an NFL football game...

Associated Press

Chicago Bears schedule a Wednesday announcement on new stadium near lakefront

The team said last month it was prepared to provide more than $2 billion in funding toward a publicly owned stadium in the city.

1 day ago

Homelessness advocates in front of Supreme Court...

LINDSAY WHITEHURST and CLAIRE RUSH Associated Press

With homelessness on the rise, the Supreme Court weighs bans on sleeping outdoors

It's the most significant case in the Supreme Court in decades on homelessness and comes as record numbers of people are without a permanent place to live.

1 day ago

Volunteers gather at Pedal and Pick at Jordan Park in Salt Lake City to celebrate earth day...

Mariah Maynes

How did April 22 become Earth Day?

20 million Americans took part in the first Earth Day in 1970. Nowadays, the event is a global affair.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

US Army is slashing thousands of posts in major revamp to prepare for future wars