WASHINGTON – The Army’s active and reserve components could fall by 100,000 additional troops if Congress fails to stave off massive defense cuts set to kick in next year, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno said Tuesday.
The active-duty Army is already set to fall by nearly 80,000 troops to 490,000 by 2017, but would shrink significantly more if the process called sequestration strips more than $1 trillion out of the Defense Department budget over the next decade, Odierno told the press.
The Army reserve, which avoids major cuts in the recently- announced 2013 Defense Department budget proposal, would fall in strength as well, he said.
“It’ll be tens of thousands out of each,” he said, although the ratio of cuts between active and reserve components has not yet been determined.
DOD officials have publicly refused to make plans for cuts of that magnitude, arguing that the nation’s current defense strategy could not be implemented under such constraints. The Army needs to maintain size to deter potential adversaries, Odierno said.
“What I worry about is if we get too small, people will miscalculate,” he said.