The military and aerospace (mil/aero) community is buzzing with news of the U.S. President’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget, especially the portions related to the Department of Defense (DoD), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The biggest cuts to personnel will hit the U.S. Army under the President’s latest budget plan, which was sent to Congress this month. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel submitted recommendations to President Obama for the defense budget.
“Today, there are about 520,000 active-duty soldiers, which the Army had planned to reduce to 490,000,” Hagel says, adding that “an Army of this size is larger than required to meet the demands of our defense strategy. Given reduced budgets, it is also larger than we can afford to modernize and keep ready. We have decided to further reduce active-duty Army end-strength to a range of 440-450,000 soldiers.”
This news alone pricked up the ears of mil/aero proponents, who pointed out that such a drastic cut in personnel would reduce the Army to pre-World War II levels. That is, an Army of 450,000 soldiers would be the smallest since 1940, before the U.S. entered WWII. If sequestration-level cuts are re-imposed in 2016, however, the active-duty Army would have to draw down to 420,000 soldiers.
The Army National Guard and Reserves will also draw down—from roughly 355,000 and 205,000 soldiers, respectively—to 335,000 soldiers in the Army National Guard and 195,000 in the Reserves by 2017. If sequestration returns in 2016, the Army National Guard would continue drawing down further, to 315,000 and the Army Reserves would draw down to 185,000.