Gen. Ray Odierno, chief of staff at the U.S. Army, predicts the service would reach a “breaking point” if sequester-level cuts return in fiscal 2016, DoD News reported Friday.
David Vergun writes Odierno said at a Defense Writers Group meeting Friday the branch struggles to balance its manpower and readiness programs due to a lack of funds, and this presents a significant problem as new security threats have emerged globally.
“I’m not seeing peace breaking out around the world in ’16,” he told the writers, according to DoD News.
Odierno estimates the number of active-duty troops in the Army will decrease from 510,000 in the current fiscal year to 420,000 in fiscal 2019.
He added the branch could lose $9 billion from its annual budget under a FY 2016 sequestration and has to cut its force by 20,000 a year without significantly degrading personnel and operational considerations.
The publication reports Odierno received letters from 40 members of Congress asking why their home districts have fewer soldiers.
“I wrote back that the reason I’m taking soldiers out of your installation and out of your state is because of sequestration, not that I want to do it,” he said, according to Vergun’s article.
“That’s the dilemma we’re in.”