US Army Boxed in by Sequestration

Fiscal 2016 will be “a breaking point” if sequestration returns, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno told reporters Friday morning in Washington, D.C. “It will be very difficult for us to lead around the world,” added Odierno, who spent the majority of the morning fielding questions on the growing threat from ISIS terrorists. “I’m not seeing peace breaking out around the world in ’16,” he added. The Army is slated to lose $9 billion from its overall budget of some $120 billion, and like the other services, Odierno said, “I cannot take people out fast enough.” The Army already is downsizing its endstrength at a rate of about 20,000 people per year. There some 510,000 Active Duty soldiers in the Army today, down from a high of 570,000. That number is slated to decrease to about 490,000 by the end of Fiscal 2015 and will be reduced even further to 420,000 by Fiscal 2019, said Odierno. That brought some risk even before the Russian incursion in Ukraine and the growing ISIS threat in Iraq and Syria, but that risk is only increasing as the Army’s ability to deploy soldiers decreases. “I’m in a box,” said Odierno.