The 2015 Defense budget proposal, unveiled Monday at the Pentagon, would affect the services as follows:
- Reduce Army active end strength to 440,000 to 450,000 — rather than previous plans for 490,000 — by 2017.
- Cut Army National Guard and Reserves forces by 5 percent, to 335,000 and 185,000 respectively.
- Kill Ground Combat Vehicle program.
- Army Guard Apache attack helicopters be transferred to active-duty units. The Active Army will transfer Blackhawk helicopters to the National Guard, where they will bolster the Guard’s needed capabilities in areas like disaster relief and emergency response.
- Eliminate A-10 close air support aircraft fleet.
- Eliminate U2 spy plane fleet.
- Reduce planned armed Reaper and Predator combat air patrols to 55 from 65 (an air patrol is one aircraft on station around the clock, requiring 3 or 4 planes).
- Protect investments in the new long-range bomber, the Joint Strike Fighter, and the new KC-46 refueling tanker.
Navy and Marine Corps
The Navy and Marine Corps will be less impacted by the cuts than the other services
- Maintain 11 carrier groups. However, if sequestration spending levels remain in place in Fiscal Year 2016, the George Washington carrier would need to be retired.
- Cut littoral combat ship buys from 52 to 32
- Continue purchases of destroyers and attack subs at a rate of two destroyers and two attack submarines per year.
- Provide for one additional Afloat Staging Base.
- Preserved the fleet’s modernization programs and provide for increases in ship inventory over the next five years.
- Avoid additional reductions in Marine Corps end strength beyond those already planned. Current plans call for the Marines to draw down from 190,000 to 182,000. But if sequestration-level cuts are re-imposed in 2016 and beyond, the Marines would have to shrink to 175,000.
The budget plan would also have the following force structure implications:
- Grow special operations forces from roughly 66,000 to 69,700 personnel.
- Preserve all three legs of the nuclear triad and make further investments in the nuclear force.
Source: Department of Defense