US Army plans to cut 40,000 troops: media

Updated: 2015-07-08 11:01


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WASHINGTON - The US Army plans to cut 40,000 soldiers from both domestic and foreign posts over the next two years, according to US daily USA TODAY.

Under the plan, the US Army would cut its current size of active-duty soldiers from about 490,000 to about 450,000 by Sept 30, 2017 and an additional 17,000 civilian employees would also be laid off, said the report. Details about the plan are expected to be officially announced later this week.

The cuts come as expected as the Pentagon had already said in its budget for the 2016 budget year in February that a reduction to 450,000 soldiers would occur by Sept 30, 2018.

It is unknown whether the Pentagon's decision to bring forward the downsizing by a whole year is related to a squeeze on defense spending, but the USA TODAY's report quoted the official document as saying that if the automatic budget cuts, set to begin in October, take place, the Army would have to cut another 30,000 soldiers.

During the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army reached its peak of 570,000 soldiers in 2012. However, as US lawmakers had for long been arguing that boots on the ground could be replaced by drones and other forms of attacks, pressure was heaped on the Pentagon to downsize the Army.

Despite the cuts, the Army would still remain the largest of the armed forces.