The Senate Appropriations Committee was told on Wednesday that the U.S. Army is facing “increased risks” while operating at “historically low levels” of readiness.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said that President Obama’s 2016 budget represents “the bare minimum” needed for the branch to fulfill its responsibilities, all while its active component was cut by 80,000 soldiers in the last three years. The Army has also inactivated 13 brigades.
The testimony before lawmakers comes just one month after Defense Manpower Data Center statistics showed that the U.S. Army has fewer than 500,000 active-duty soldiers for the first time in 10 years. As of Feb. 5, there were 498,642 soldiers on active duty.
Army Secretary John McHugh also testified before the committee, saying, “We need predictability, not politics,” Army Times reported.
Gen. Odierno told senators that the fiscal uncertainty is putting “a lot of pressure” on soldiers.
“We haven’t seen that breaking point yet, but I worry when that will occur in the future,” he said, the newspaper reported.
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