House Proposal Would Reverse Planned Army Troop Cuts

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Planned Army troop cuts would be reversed under a measure that has the backing of the House Armed Services Committee.

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, said the committee-backed plan would also block a Pentagon proposal to close military bases, boost space spending and halt proposed cuts to missile defense programs.

Lamborn, who sits on the committee, said Tuesday that blocking troop cuts is key to keeping the nation safe.

"We live in a dangerous world and American strength deters the bad actors," said Lamborn, who faces Democrat and GOP foes in his bid for a sixth term.

The House version of the 2017 defense plan will head to the Senate for consideration.

The Army planned to cut its active-duty forces to 450,000 by 2017 as part of a Pentagon belt-tightening plan. That's down from a wartime height of 520,000 soldiers in 2012.

The House committee voted to hold Army rosters at 480,000 soldiers next year, according to an agreed version of the National Defense Authorization Act released Tuesday.

Lamborn said stopping the cuts also means troop levels at Fort Carson will remain steady at about 24,500.

Other highlights from the House plan include as much as $5 billion in additional spending on military satellites and associated ground systems. The bill calls for development of new military weather and communication satellites.

In missile defense, the measure keeps $800 million that the Pentagon proposed to cut, while calling for a new national missile defense strategy and a study of expansion of missile defense programs to Europe.

The House also rebuffed Pentagon demands for a new Base Realignment and Closure Commission.

Lamborn said lawmakers are reluctant to close bases as threats grow in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. A string of earlier base closure rounds, most recently in 2005, make it increasingly difficult to part with Pentagon real estate, he said.

"The low-hanging fruit has already been picked," he said.

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This article was written by TOM ROEDER from The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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