Army Chief on Administration’s Planned Troop Reductions: “High Military Risk"

WASHINGTON, DC — Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army General Mark Milley today testified to Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) before the Senate Armed Services Committee that the Obama Administration’s plan to reduce the size of the Army to 450,000 active duty troops and 980,000 total troops represents “high military risk” in light of potential conflicts around the globe. Over the last year, Sullivan has been pressing senior Department of Defense officials on the drawdown, including the elimination of Alaska’s 4-25 Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), a decision which the U.S. Amy recently reversed. 

In response to Sullivan’s line of questioning, General Milley said, “My job is to provide my best military estimate of what the risk is … I think it’s high military risk.” 

Senator Sullivan responded, “I certainly believe it’s unacceptable risk for the country, and as you mentioned, for our troops.” 

When pressed further on what size the active-duty component of the U.S. Army, when properly resourced, should be, General Milley said, “We’ve got a variety of studies that we did to determine the size of the force relative to the national military strategy and the defense planning guidance…The active piece of that comes out to just a little bit more than 500,000.” 

After the hearing Senator Sullivan said, “President Obama wants our military to have Cadillac capabilities at Yugo prices and, as a result, our U.S. Army – and all of our services – are at a critical crossroads. They are under-manned and under-resourced for an increasingly dangerous world. As General Milley made clear in his testimony, ‘The risk of deploying unready forces into combat is higher U.S. casualty rates and increased risk to mission success.’ The American people need to know the consequences of President Obama’s budget intransigence and that his ‘dollar-for-dollar’ budget demands have real consequences for our nation’s brave men and women.”