June 25th, 2013
11:08 PM ET

U.S. Army to reduce combat brigades

By CNN Staff

The U.S. Army announced on Tuesday it plans to cut 12 combat brigades as part of steep budget austerity and other planned military changes associated with the ending of two wars and a sweeping military restructuring.

Additionally, the Army plans to cut roughly 14 percent or 80,000 troops mainly from its peak Iraq-war active-duty total. The National Guard will take a slight hit and the Army reserve will actually add 1,000 troops, according to Gen. Ray Odierno.

After the reductions are in place, the Army will field 490,000 active-duty forces, 350,000 National Guard troops and 205,000 reserves. Most of the cuts have come through attrition and the overall total was previously known.

The Pentagon is implementing planned budget cuts of nearly $500 billion over 10 years. But Odierno warned that more force reductions would be coming if separate, forced government spending cuts that took effect in March and hit the Pentagon hard were to continue into next year.

The Army's combat brigade reorganization to 33 will reduce the overall number of headquarters while sustaining as much combat capabilities as possible, Odierno said at a news conference.

Twelve brigade combat teams, two in Germany, will be inactivated, leaving two brigade combat teams in Europe. Ten others will be cut from U.S. bases. A brigade equals about 3,500 troops and the cuts will include armor and infantry.

Domestic bases impacted by the change include: Fort Bliss and Fort Hood in Texas; Fort Bragg in North Carolina; Fort Campbell and Fort Knox in Kentucky; Fort Carson in Colorado; Fort Drum in New York; Fort Riley in Kansas; Fort Stewart in Georgia, and Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.

The 33 remaining brigade combat teams will be reorganized.

"We will add a third maneuver battalion and additional engineer and fires capability to each of our armor and infantry brigade combat teams in order to make them more lethal, more flexible and more agile," he said.

The changes are due to be completed by the end of fiscal year 2017.

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Filed under: Army • Budget • Military
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. mike

    Meanwhile, while you were asleep......The Russians have arrived.

    http://en.mchs.ru/news/item/434203/

    GOOD JOB, CNN. Thanks for spending some time covering things that really are news.....or not.

    July 2, 2013 at 12:46 am | Reply
  2. ?

    all the soldiers are going to be upset (most at least) with the cuts to come after these initial ones, you can't really blame the government though, the military is the most blood sucking organization in the government, where one irs employee actually brings in mula, one us soldier costs a ton, what needs to be done though to ease the burden is priority hiring in federal jobs for vets downsized and they need to force out reservist and guard members who are looking at essentially worthless pensions for their 20 years and move in troops with ten active years vested so they can at least get something decent out of it

    July 1, 2013 at 12:06 am | Reply
    • AnnaBanana

      The key thing to making these cuts less dangerous to our readiness is make sure that the Reserves and the National Guard don't slip back into the horrible state they were in about 25 years or so ago, when I first enlisted. Many of the soldiers were fat and slow; the annual range qualifications were frequently faked; the equipment was not maintained; the training was a joke. It was like a social club – we had some really good parties, but we were no more prepared to go to war than my wine-tasting club.

      July 3, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Reply
  3. Rick

    Where are you coming from? The only way to keep this country safe and free is to show power thru our military. Any one that thinks we can talk or convince or train is stupid. I have been there, men rape little boys, then want to pray to ala to give them so many virgins? this is a culture we do not need, sorry to say

    June 30, 2013 at 9:59 pm | Reply
    • ?

      your thinking is ultimately one of the contributing factors to making this war last for a century, regardless of your thinking most people in the world are good, most men want to bring flowers home to their wives and candy to their children, it is the displaced young men in the world who create b s like al qaeda or the crips or whatever for that matter, when you treat people like garbage you cannot be confused why they might want to blow your brains out, take ssg bales for a second, that little schmuck did more to f up the war than any general could have done to make peace or bring about victory

      July 1, 2013 at 12:00 am | Reply
      • ?

        excuse me, join not create, you didn't see old fearless leader blowing himself up with planes on 911, it is nearly always the poor displaced young men who go off to join this terror we see and become martyrs

        July 1, 2013 at 12:15 am |
    • Dan5404

      It was one of America's great heroes and a Republican president ( I am a Democrat) who warned against the military-industrial complex's overkill on defense spending, and who else would know better? We spend more than a dozen countries put together, so I doubt that we will be severely threatened by a large military power. Instead, it is strategic planning, fighting against tyranny and terrorists, and continuing to politically active in promoting Democracy and Human Rights. It wasn't military might that took own the Berlin Wall, that simply held Russia at bay. It was the ideals that America was built on, and constant communication of those ideals. That may not suit the pro-military macho crowd, but it's the only way to anything resembling general world peace.

      July 1, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Reply
  4. jsmoulder

    Have to do something to pay for the multi million dollar Obama family vacation/official presidential trip in Africa.

    June 28, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Reply
    • Dan5404

      js: Yes,just as we paid for two similar trips by George Bush when he held the job. I didn't begrudge Bush for doing his job, just as Obama is doing. He is countering China's economic inroads and influence in Africa. Also, those that begrudge Obama vacations should know that Bush holds the record among all presidents, by a big margin on time off from the White House. But, I don't begrudge him for that, either. With today's communications, they don't miss a beat in performing their duties. Give it a rest, and deal with REAL issues.

      July 1, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Reply
  5. njd

    Why not just shut down all the combat teams in Europe and shut down Fort Bliss, Bragg and Hood. And while their at it bring back most of the troops from South Korea. North Korea couldn't punch its way out of a wet paper bag anyway...

    June 28, 2013 at 11:27 am | Reply
    • Tex

      It makes no sense to close Fort Hood, the Largest military base and training facility in North America. Closing some of the smaller bases like Polk, or just about any army base in Alaska or California makes more sense. Those troops could easily be absorbed by the larger bases and the wasted infrastructure sold to the states.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Reply
  6. jonat

    Translation: We are about to add another 80,000 to the unemployment lines

    June 27, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Reply
    • njd

      Many are going through 'attrition'. They would be leaving anyway. Of course 'recruiting' will be down, but the recruiters were hard pressed to find the bodies anyway...

      June 28, 2013 at 11:24 am | Reply
  7. Freedom1958

    Since we are cutting our forces to save money, I think it would be a great idea to move several military bases to the Southern border, so that our troops in training can practice their skills patrolling for illegal aliens.
    Just think: all those tanks and other cool military toys could be put to good use during peacetime!
    The training has to be done anyway, so why not get something useful done while we are at it?

    June 26, 2013 at 9:22 pm | Reply
    • Jomama

      That's interesting, it would be desert training as you say.

      June 26, 2013 at 9:43 pm | Reply
    • Dan5404

      Tanks at the Southern border would be like a Tyrannasaurus Rex going rabbit hunting.

      July 1, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Reply
  8. Wreck

    Cutting 12 Combat Military Brigades- but spending billions on Obamacare, spending hundreds of billions of carbon tax give global warming hoax giveways, the list goes on. Military is being cut because the president the commander in chief of the armed forces- is hostile to the United States of America, and wants to reduce it's defenses.

    June 26, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Reply
    • Portland tony

      People are just plain tired of stupid wars.

      June 26, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Reply
    • Paul

      Well, this will save money, but it's not really reducing our defenses. The Brigades are being cut, but in turn, each of the combat arms Brigades that are left will benefit from being given an additional combat arms Battalion as well as more engineering and artillery assets. This move will nicely increase the tooth to tail ratio of a Brigade. It will also give the Brigade Commanders more flexibility. What we're really losing is just the Brigade level leadership and a little support. I'm okay with losing some field grade officers and E-7s and E-8s who are just hiding out at Brigade staff and coast to a more than 20 year retirement.

      June 27, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Reply
  9. Kero

    Being in the navy, i realize the need to downsize our military being the fact that we are ending our wars at the moment, so instead of being mad all the time, lets be happy that we don't have to send any more mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters overseas and not have to worry too much about sending billions of tax dollars a year for another country, mkay. =)

    June 26, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Reply
  10. Teaparty Thomas

    The liberals are in control of our federal government. Now they are cutting our military forces. God help us all.

    Vote in 2014 for the party that has always supported the military. THE REPUBLICAN PARTY

    June 26, 2013 at 11:07 am | Reply
    • bill deens

      One one "Sequestration". Translation...Republican Party.

      June 26, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Reply
    • CT_Yank

      When sequestration passed, Boehner was thrilled – he "got 99% of what [he] wanted." Obviously, a reduction of military force was one of the things he wanted!

      June 26, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Reply
    • Lando

      Go back under your rock creep.

      July 1, 2013 at 11:20 pm | Reply
  11. John Smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    June 26, 2013 at 12:20 am | Reply
    • USMC1371

      Would you just STFU. You post the garbage over and over no one cares about you made up numbers.

      June 26, 2013 at 5:11 am | Reply
      • simplyput

        Thank you, marine.

        June 27, 2013 at 2:52 am |
      • mike

        Actually John's facts are accurate,.......... sorry y'all nothing made up here,...

        June 27, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Dr. Charles Edgar Hardee

      Yes "Jonh Smith" keep your Islamic ideolgies to yourself please sir.

      June 26, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Reply
      • mike

        nothing to do with religion,...... that was a cheap shot

        June 27, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Reality Check

      You need to put down the crack pipe and get a grip on reality that isn't provide via Hollywood movies. The CIA isn't capable of staging a coup and overthrowing a government, they simply don't have the manpower for it.

      June 26, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Reply
    • Rick from LA

      Only country to shoot down a civilian airline? google korean air and Russia.

      The US shot down a plane that overflew a conflict site. That is not a excuse because there is no just cause to shoot down commericial airline, however the Russian's downed a passenger plane during a time of absolute peace.

      The rest of you argument is overblown but somewhat true. the invasion killed tens of thousands, not a million, the secretarian violence displaced more people the the American invasion.

      June 26, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Reply
      • Grammy

        That would be "sectarian", not secretarian. Geeeesh

        June 26, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
    • Todd

      If you think that way maybe you should pack up and leave the United States

      June 27, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Reply

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