Spending Cuts Will Require Trimming Troop Levels Next Year, Hale Says

To accommodate the deep spending cuts triggered by sequestration, the Pentagon likely will begin reducing military end strength next year and continue for the next several years.

The current defense strategy calls for a shift from large-scale ground operations, meaning the Army and Marine Corps would absorb the lion’s share of the force reductions.

“That strategy will tend to lead to disproportionate cuts to the ground forces, but the Navy and the Air Force are going to have to get smaller too,” Comptroller Robert Hale said last week during remarks at a meeting of the Reserve Forces Policy Board.

The savings from involuntary separations of military personnel would not be felt immediately, so officials will need to begin the process soon, reported Military Times. “We need to make cuts in [fiscal 2014] in military personal aimed at helping in [2015], or we will be in exactly the same situation,” Hale said.

Along with slashing end strength, officials also plan to shave annual pay increases to deal with sequestration, which is slated to reduce the department’s budget by $500 billion through fiscal 2021.

To cope with the automatic cuts, officials likely will start by sharply curtailing spending on modernization programs, which are easier to cut on short notice. But over time, personnel reductions will account for greater savings, according to the story.

Dan Cohen
Dan Cohen
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