The number of US Army soldiers on active duty has hit its lowest since 1940, a new report shows.
The end strength of the Army for March was 479,172 soldiers, 154 fewer soldiers than the service’s previous low in 1999, the Army Times reported.
The report noted that 2,600 soldiers resigned from active service in March without being replaced.
However, the number is far more than the 269,023 soldiers on active duty in 1940, the year before the US entered the Second World War.
The figure for this year shows that the active force has been reduced by more than 16,500 troops over the past year, which is the equivalent of three brigades.
The report noted that the force was on its way to cut the active troops down to 470,000 soldiers by September 30, the end of fiscal year 2016, according to a drawdown plan that was introduced in July last year.
The number would see further cuts, reaching 460,000 soldiers by the end of the fiscal year 2017 and 450,000 a year later, marking a 20 percent decrease from 2010, when there were nearly 570,000 soldiers on active duty.
When the Army introduced the plan, military
officials said reduced funding levels were likely to hinder its implementation.
“These are not cuts the Army wants to make, these are cuts required by budget environment in which we operate,” General Daniel Allyn, vice chief of staff of the Army, said at the time. “This 40,000 soldier cut … will only get us to the program force, it does not deal with the continued threat of sequestration.”
In addition to those on active duty, the US Army also has 548,024 soldiers in reserve, which makes up for a total force of 1,027,196 soldiers.
The drawdown plan projects that the Army’s total size would be reduced to 980,000 by the end of fiscal year 2018.