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Army Is Slashing Thousands of Jobs to Focus on Russia and China

U.S.Army Is Slashing Thousands of Jobs to Focus on Russia and China

The U.S. Army is cutting 24,000 positions as the Pentagon continues to shift its priority to countering Chinese and Russian military might after two decades of focusing on the fight against terrorism, according to a new Army document.

The cuts are in line with the national defense strategy begun by President Donald J. Trump and largely endorsed by the Biden administration that emphasizes rising threats to the United States from an emboldened Russia and China.

Army numbers swelled to almost 600,000 during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but the end of those conflicts has contributed to a steady decrease as soldiers returned to the garrison.

The job cuts, reported earlier by The Associated Press, also implicitly acknowledge the recruiting woes that have plagued the Army — and indeed, other military services — in recent years. The Army, the Navy and the Air Force failed to meet recruiting goals last year. Army officials have been traveling to college campuses in urban areas to try to tap into underrepresented communities for recruits.

The new document says the cuts will “allow the Army to narrow the gap between force structure, which was designed to accommodate 494,000 soldiers, and current active-duty end strength, which is set by law at 445,000.” The goal now, according to the document, will be to bring an Army end strength of 470,000.

Defense Department officials say that several issues have hobbled recruitment. The percentage of young Americans who qualify, and are interested, in military service has dropped, they note. A low unemployment rate has also meant that young people have other options.

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