President plans to cut half a million troops

January 6, 2012




New Pentagon strategy stresses Asia, cyber, drones

But the size of the U.S. Army and Marines Corps would shrink. So too might the U.S. nuclear arsenal and the U.S. military footprint in Europe.




The mighty American military machine that has for so long secured the country’s status as the world’s only superpower will have to be drastically reduced, Barack Obama warned yesterday as he set out a radical but more modest new set of priorities for the Pentagon over the next decade.

President plans to cut half a million troops...

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Air Force Will Lose Hundreds of Planes in New Pentagon Plan

The Air Force is preparing to trim hundreds of aircraft from its aging fleet in order to meet an Obama administration austerity order. The move will strike many Air Force supporters as ironic. Because just as the fleet is set to shrink, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is getting ready to argue, at least implicitly, that the country needs it more than ever.

Danger Room has learned that around 200 airplanes, mostly older models, will eventually be retired without replacement. That represents about a 5 percent reduction in the overall fleet of about 4,000 aircraft. Exactly which planes will go is unclear. But under any scenario, the positions of thousands of airmen who fly and maintain those planes will be phased out. The majority of those airmen will be reservists and Air National Guardsmen.


Update, 4:45 p.m.: According to Inside Defense, the Army shrinkage we heard about isn’t just real, it’s serious. Over the next five years, the Army will lose nearly 100,000 active duty soldiers, going to an “end-strength” of 480,000 to 490,000. That’s a significantly deeper manpower cut than the Army expected — it was slated to go down to 520,000 soldiers — at a faster clip: the reductions Gates announced last year started in 2015. The Marines, too, will shrink from 202,000 to 181,000 leathernecks, which is a few thousand Marines fewer than Gates envisioned; they’ll return to being more of a sea-based service instead of a de facto second Army.

This moment was coming. At last year’s big Army convention in D.C., Gen. Raymond Odierno, the chief of staff, warned that budget cuts would probably shrink the Army to a smaller size than he’s comfortable with. Odierno also said that his priority was to preserve a capable, deployable Army that’s well-trained to win wars, even if it’s relatively small. But make no mistake: Odierno does not want this.

If you’re wondering why the Army (and Marines) will shrink so much, the reason is the impending Asia pivot — which Obama himself will visit the Pentagon tomorrow to announce. Not only will Obama, Panetta and Dempsey say that land wars are passe, they’re expected to abandon a formal planning posture committing the military to prepare for two major simultaneous wars. Most experts think the posture is archaic, but the Army spent most of the last decade fighting two simultaneous ground wars — and, the Army is quick to remind, had to add tens of thousands more soldiers to do so.

For their part, the Air Force and Navy are quick to remind people that it’s cheaper and faster to bring up new soldiers in an emergency than it is to build and deploy new planes and ships. True, but it may not be that simple. The diminishment of the Army in both size and prestige carries the prospect of losing battle-experienced career officers, testing the Army’s ability to retain the hard lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan for the next time the U.S. faces unexpected land wars. Your move, Gen. Odierno.

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