The end strength of the active-duty Army fell below 500,000 for the first time in a decade, and now stands at 498,642 soldiers.
Over the past year, the regular Army shrunk by 24,331 soldiers, reported Army Times. By the end of September, forces are due to drop to 490,000. The budget request released last week by the Obama administration calls for the Army’s end strength to decline to 475,000 by Oct. 1, 2016. Officials have said the force will need to shrink to a size of 450,000 and, possibly, to 420,000 if the existing statutory caps on defense spending remain in place through fiscal 2021.
The figures, compiled by the Defense Manpower Data Center, show that as the Army entered 2015 its reserve components had a combined strength of 547,007 soldiers — 349,881 in the National Guard and 197,126 in the Army Reserve.