The US Army continues to decrease in size, according to its most recent budget request. The service has unveiled its part of President Joe Biden’s overall defense budget request to Congress, and it includes a reduction of 21,000 active-duty soldiers from the previous year’s initial request for 473,000 active troops.
The Army is now requesting funding for a force with 452,000 active-duty soldiers, 325,000 soldiers in the National Guard, and 174,000 soldiers in the Army Reserve.
The Army has been shifting its focus away from large-scale ground combat operations and towards smaller, more agile units that can respond quickly to a variety of threats and challenges. This has led to a reorganization of the Army’s force structure, with an emphasis on Special Operations Forces, Cyber, and other high-tech capabilities.
The #USArmy released its fiscal year 2023 presidential budget request.
The fiscal 2023 Army budget keeps the force on a strategic path to fielding cutting-edge formations necessary for multi-domain operations while facing increased fiscal pressures.
— U.S. Army (@USArmy) March 29, 2022
The Army has also been investing heavily in modernization efforts, such as the development of new weapons systems, improved communications technology, and advanced training programs. These efforts are aimed at ensuring that the Army remains a highly effective fighting force, even as its size continues to decrease.
In an interview with Defense News, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville explained that the Army was seeking to balance its need for modernization with its need for a ready and capable force.
“Modernization is important, but it’s not just about buying new equipment,” McConville said. “It’s about training and preparing our soldiers to use that equipment effectively”.
However, last year, senior leaders promised to put the Army on a path to increase its forces back to 485,000 active-duty soldiers, though it did not provide a timeline. As it cuts soldiers from the rolls, the Army faces some of its most challenging recruiting obstacles in decades.
The force fell short on recruiting goals last year as it could only recruit 45000 soldiers against its target of 60,000. Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth said at the time that 2022 was the most difficult recruiting year for the Army since the start of the All-Volunteer Force in the 1970s.
The 2022 shortfall was when the service had a target of recruiting 60,000 new soldiers. That missed mark has not stopped the service from setting an even more ambitious goal of recruiting 65,000 new soldiers this year, Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth said recently.
To recruit those soldiers, the Army has revamped and relaunched its “Be all you can be” marketing strategy and pushed into major urban centers where it previously had little success. The Army has also added bonuses and rank to a soldier referral program and adopted a mentality that every soldier serves as a kind of recruiter.
Despite the Army’s shrinking size, the service is continuing its 10-year, $10 billion barracks, and housing improvement plan. The budget calls for five new barracks projects, costing the service $288 million in the coming fiscal year.
In addition to these priorities, the budget request includes funding for a variety of other programs and initiatives. This includes $6.8 billion for military construction, $2.7 billion for family housing.
The Army’s shrinking size has raised concerns among military experts who worry that it may become difficult to maintain readiness and operational capabilities with fewer troops. With the ongoing threats from China and Russia, maintaining a strong and capable military force is vital to national security.
Despite the recruiting challenges, the Army is working hard to attract new soldiers and maintain its high standards. As the world continues to face ongoing threats from rival nations, it is essential that the United States Army remains a strong and capable fighting force.