US Army to cut 40,000 troops from its ranks

  • 08/07/2015

The US Army is to cut 40,000 soldiers from its ranks over the next two years, in a move that will raise doubts about its ability to fight wars.

Under the cost-cutting plan, the Army will be down to 450,000 soldiers at the end of the 2017 budget year, USA Today said.

That's despite it arguing in budgetary documents in 2013 that going below 450,000 troops might mean it could not win a war, the newspaper said.

By comparison, the Army swelled to 570,000 men and women during the peak of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the paper said.

Some 17,000 civilians working for the Army will also be laid off, a defence official told AFP, confirming the USA Today report.

The cuts would affect virtually every Army post domestically and abroad, USA Today said.

The defence official told AFP that the Army plans to announce the cuts soon, with USA Today adding that the matter would be addressed this week.

Across-the-board government budget cuts are due to kick in in October, and if Congress does not avert these the Army will have to lay off another 30,000 soldiers on top of the 40,000, according to the document quoted by USA Today.

It comes just a day after President Barack Obama said that the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group would step up its campaign in Syria, while cautioning a long battle remained.