The U.S. Army plans to get noticeably smaller over the next five years.
The branch’s personnel chief, Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, told the Army Times over the weekend that the Army plans to cut nearly 50,000 troops from its ranks over the next five years.
The drawdown, which represents roughly 8.6 percent of the Army’s current soldiers, will begin in March and run through October 2016. When all is said and done, the Army’s total force will be down to roughly 520,000 active-duty soldiers, according to the report.
The first round of cuts will focus on the temporary 22,000-soldier increase that was launched three years ago to support the surge in Afghanistan. The second phase will involve roughly 27,000 soldiers that were added as part of the Grow the Army program that began in 2007.
The cuts will reportedly come mostly through retirements, buyouts and voluntary and involuntary separations.
“We feel that with the demand going down in Iraq and Afghanistan, and given the time to conduct a reasonable drawdown, we can manage (the force reduction) just as we have managed drawdowns in the past,” Bostick told the paper.