This past June we spoke about a proposed 14% reduction in the U.S. Army’s size. Those changes have already begun and will see the U.S. Army shrinking from current levels of 500,000+ to 490,000 by 2017. The downsizing will put the Army in compliance with the 2011 Budget Control Act. The Army’s contribution to the DoD’s overall budget reduction of $485 billion is expected to reach $170 billion.
To accomplish its goals, the service will shed 12 Brigade Combat Teams (BCT) from its current portfolio of 45 BCTs. This is 4 more deactivations than originally called for; a change stemming from adding a third combat maneuver battalion to the BCTs.
Do the changes put the Army behind the proverbial 8 Ball, well not really. Here is the final analysis. The Army will go from 45 to 33 BCTs. Since the brass is adding a third combat maneuver battalion to all but a couple of BCTs they’ll end up with a total of 95 combat maneuver battalions, which is only 3 less than the 98 currently in place.
So, “where’s the beef?” The lion’s share of its reduction comes from the elimination of 12 Headquarter (HQ) elements belonging to the 12 BCTs being deactivated. So, it’s not looking too bad for the home team as of this writing.
The picture it should be painting for defense industry leaders is to expect increased demand for mobility and C4ISR support technologies, as the remaining commanders pick up increased responsibilities.