The US Army is cutting thousands of sites in a major renovation to prepare for future wars

WASHINGTON – The US Army is reducing the size of its force by about 24,000 soldiers, or nearly 5%, and restructuring it to be more capable of fighting the next major war, as the army suffers from a recruiting shortage that has made it impossible to bring in enough troops. Soldiers to fill all the jobs.

However, at the same time, the plan will add about 7,500 soldiers 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 that she and Army General Randy George have worked to reduce the number of empty or excess slots.

“We are moving away from counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency. We want to be in a position to have large-scale combat operations,” Wormuth told reporters on Tuesday. “So we looked at where there were parts of the force structure that were perhaps more closely linked to counter-insurgency,” Wormuth told reporters on Tuesday. For example, which we no longer need.”

George added that army leaders conducted a lot of analysis to choose the places that would be cut off.

“The things we don't want to have in our lineup are actually things we don't think will make us successful on the battlefield moving forward,” he said.

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According to an Army document, the service is “significantly overstretched” and there are not enough soldiers to fill existing units. She said the cuts are “spaces” not “faces” and the Army will not ask soldiers to leave the force.

Instead, the decision reflects the fact that for years the military has been unable to fill thousands of vacant positions. While the Army as currently structured could have up to 494,000 soldiers, the total number of soldiers on active duty currently is about 445,000. Under the new plan, the goal is to bring in enough troops over the next five years to reach the level of 470,000 troops.

The planned reform comes after two decades of war in Iraq and Afghanistan that forced the Army to expand rapidly and dramatically in order to fill brigades sent to the battlefront. This included a massive counterinsurgency mission to fight Al Qaeda, the Taliban and ISIS.

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. The war in Ukraine has demonstrated the need to place greater emphasis on air defense systems and high-tech capabilities to use and counter airborne and seaborne drones.

Army leaders said they carefully looked across all career areas in the service for places to cut back. They studied ongoing efforts to modernize the army with new high-tech weapons, to determine where additional troops should be stationed.

According to the plan, the army will cut about 10,000 places for engineers and similar positions associated with counterinsurgency missions. An additional 2,700 soldiers will be drawn from units that are not frequently deployed and could be reduced, and 6,500 will come from various training and other positions.

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About 10,000 jobs from cavalry squadrons, Stryker brigade combat teams, infantry brigade combat teams and security force assistance brigades, which are used to train foreign forces, will also be eliminated.

The changes represent a major shift for the Army to prepare for large-scale combat operations against more sophisticated enemies. But it also underscores the significant recruiting challenges that all military services face.

In the last fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, the Navy, Army and Air Force failed to meet their recruiting goals, while the Marine Corps and the Junior Space Force met theirs. The Army has brought in just over 50,000 recruits, well short of the stated “stretch goal” of 65,000 recruits.

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

In response, the service launched an overhaul of its hiring process last fall to focus more on young people who have spent time in college or are looking for work early in their careers. It is working to create a new professional force of conscripts, rather than relying on soldiers randomly assigned to the task.

Discussing the changes at the time, Wormuth admitted that the service had not been recruiting well “for many more years than one might think from just looking at the headlines of the last 18 months”. The service has not met its annual target for new enlisted contracts since 2014, she said.

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