Odierno, Army chief of staff, says U.S. Army shrinking too much

Odierno, Army chief of staff, says U.S. Army shrinking too much

The Army agreed – reluctantly — to cut the size of its force to 490,000 under the budget reductions originally approved in 2011. But as a result of subsequent White House-Congress spending battles and military budget reviews, Pentagon leaders said the Army has had to make plans to shrink even further, to 450,000 or even 420,000.

But Gen. Ray Odierno, the chief of staff of the Army, said Monday that even 490,000 may be too small, given recent events such as the rise of militants fighting for Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and Moscow’s moves in Eastern Europe. …

He added that the Army doesn’t have the money right now to stave off further force reductions and repeated prior calls for Congress to repeal mandated spending reductions. His comments came at a news conference during the annual meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army, a non-profit group that advocates for the Army. …

Gen. Odierno is due to step down as Army chief of staff by early 2015. He said under the current plan, some Army units may fall short of readiness standards by 2016 and 2017 and that future Army leaders could be faced with the decision to deploy a unit that hasn’t been fully prepared.

“I swore that I would never send soldiers into a place not properly prepared, trained or equipped,” he said. “I will probably get away with that because I will leave … by the beginning of the next year. But I worry for the next chief.”

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