US Army Cuts 24,000 Jobs in Major Force Restructuring

The US Army has announced a significant force structure overhaul that involves cutting around 24,000 jobs, or nearly five percent of its force.

The “Army Force Structure Transformation” aims to slash already-empty posts to create space for modern formations necessary for winning future wars.

More than 10,000 jobs tied to the US counterinsurgency missions in Iraq and Afghanistan that are no longer needed are expected to be removed.

Another 10,000 positions from Stryker and infantry brigade combat teams, cavalry squadrons, and security force assistance brigades to train foreign forces will also be phased out.

The remaining 3,000 jobs to be cut will come from special operations and other units that do not deploy often.

“The Army will shrink excess, largely unmanned ‘hollow’ force structure and build new formations equipped with new capabilities needed for large-scale combat operations,” the announcement stated.

Maintaining ‘High State of Readiness’

While the US Army is structured to have up to 494,000 active-duty troops, its current strength stands at 445,000.

The new initiative wants to create more openings to reach 470,000 troops by 2029 and narrow the gap between the expected force structure and the current active-duty end strength.

“By bringing force structure and end strength into closer alignment, the Army will ensure its formations are filled at the appropriate level to maintain a high state of readiness,” the announcement added.

U.S. Soldiers assigned to Cobra Battery, Field Artillery Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, conduct a direct fire exercise with M777 Howitzers, Grafenwoehr Training Area in Bavaria, Germany, Feb. 04 2021. (U.S. Army photo by Kevin Sterling Payne)
Soldiers conduct a direct fire exercise with an M777 Howitzer. Photo: Kevin Sterling Payne/US Army

Focusing on Air Defense

As the army cuts thousands of jobs, it plans to add 7,500 more in high-priority formations, such as air defense and counter-drone units.

More specifically, the new positions will support the creation of four additional Indirect Fire Protection Capability battalions to defend against unmanned aerial systems, cruise missiles, rockets, artillery, and mortars.

They will also fill crucial roles in four additional M-SHORAD (Maneuver Short Range Air Defense) battalions to be established by the army to bolster its drone defense capabilities.

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