Europe, Pacific Not Entirely Spared from Army Force Cuts

U.S. Army photo
U.S. Army photo

WASHINGTON — Europe and Asia will not be entirely spared from the Army downsizing announced last week. Just over 2,200 overseas positions will be among the 40,000 cut from the Army by the end of 2018, with 1,699 coming from Europe and 533 from South Korea, Army spokesman Lt. Col. Joe Buccino said.

He declined to specify which bases would be affected, saying the cuts would be spread out over many bases.

The Army’s original announcement Thursday about the long-expected cuts only accounted for about 22,000 from major U.S. bases.

Buccino said in addition to the cuts overseas, 746 positions will be cut from more than 300 small installations across the U.S., some representing just a single position at a small recruiting office.

That still leaves almost 10,000 cuts unaccounted for, and those will come from a group the Army calls Transients, Trainees, Holdees and Students. That includes those transitioning out of service but still on the books; new recruits in or on their way to boot camp; prisoners, whose numbers are expected to drop with the overall force; and soldiers in educational programs outside of military institutions, Buccino said. None of those positions counts toward any particular base numbers.

The cuts are part of the 2011 Budget Control Act, which aimed to cut almost $500 billion in defense spending over the course of a decade. Overall, the Army is going from 490,000 to 450,000 soldiers.

If another round of so-called sequestration — across-the-board spending cuts — kicked in on top of the planned cuts, 30,000 more positions would be cut. Army officials have said that would risk leaving it unable to respond to all potential threats.

In the U.S., several bases are facing major cuts, the hardest hit being Fort Benning, Ga., which is losing 3,402 troops. All proposals to cut 1,000 troops or more from a single base must be reviewed by Congress.

In addition to the 40,000 soldiers being cut, the Army will eliminate 17,000 civilians. Buccino said details about where the cuts will come from will be released in the next 90 days.

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