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U.S. Should Lean On Navy, Air Force as Ground Forces are Cut: Report

Navy photo: Airman Jeremy L. Grisham

The U.S. can easily grow the Army and Marine Corps quickly but it takes years to build new planes and ships for the Navy and Air Force, the Center for a New American Security said in a report.

That, along with the growing strategic importance of the Western Pacific and Middle East, are why CNAS recommends cuts to ground forces and reliance on naval and air power.

CNAS examined four budget reduction scenarios, ranging from the $350 billion in cuts the Defense Department has been preparing, to the possible $850 billion cut if Congress and the White House can not agree on a deficit reduction plan by Jan. 15.

“To hedge against risk, the scenarios make greater strategic and operational use of the National Guard and Reserves,” the report says.

Authors David BarnoNora Bensahel and Travis Sharp said the Army needs to shrink to 482,000 active duty soldiers instead of the planned 520,000-strong force. If the steeper cuts are implemented, the Army needs to cut down to 430,000 soldiers.

The Marines plan to reduce its active duty force to 182,000 from 202,000. The authors recommend the Marines cut another 7,000 under the initial cuts, and if the steeper reductions are required, the Marines will have to cut another 37,000.

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