WASHINGTON — Lawmakers are lining up to decry an US Army plan to cut 40,000 and shrink the size of the force from 490,000 to 450,000 by 2017.
The 450,000 figure was already known, but plans to draw down to that amount by 2017 is a year sooner than previously announced. The new plan, reported by USA Today, includes 17,000 civilian lay-offs, and downsized brigades at Fort Benning, Georgia, and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska.
“People who believe the world is safer, that we can do with less defense spending and 40,000 fewer soldiers, will take this as good news. I am not one of those people,” Rep. Mac Thornberry, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a statement Wednesday.
Thornberry’s office said troop level reductions “are one of the few places where the military can achieve the savings mandated by defense cuts in the time required. The House Armed Services Committee has consistently warned about the size and pace of reductions in both end strength and defense spending and the negative impact on the country’s national security.”
The House and Senate approved cutting Army end-strength to 475,000 in 2016, and provided funding in the bill.