The U.S. Army has released plans to trim 40,000 soldiers from its force over the next two years, USA Today reported Tuesday. The cuts, which are expected to affect all domestic and foreign postings, come amid forced military sequestration and a deterioration of ties with Russia. An additional 17,000 civilian employees would also be laid off.
The Army, which swelled to 570,000 during the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2014, has planned to keep a regular force of 450,000 by the end of 2017. According to the report, the cuts came in part because of budget constraints forced on the Pentagon by sequestration that was decided in 2011 and due to take effect in October this year.
If the Army is forced to go through with the entirety of the cuts, which the White House hopes to avoid as it negotiates the defense budget with Congress, it will be forced to cut a further 30,000 people. That would leave it unable to meet its current international obligations.
The U.S. Army did not respond to calls from International Business Times at this writing.