Pink slips will start going out next week to about 500 Army majors – including some on duty in Afghanistan – in the latest wave of troop cuts forced by "budget restrictions," the Army announced Friday.
"We don't want to do this," but the Army has no choice under the constraints of the Budget Control Act and the Congressional sequester process, Gen. John Campbell, the vice chief of the Army, said Friday, Military.com reports.
Campbell noted may of the 1,100 captains on a hit list last month were serving in Afghanistan as well, and "the same thing probably will happen with some of these majors," Military.com reports.
Cutting troops is always hard, he said, but axing "the ones that are deployed is certainly the hardest," he said.
Military.com reports at least 48 of the 1,100 captains handed pink slips last month had been serving in Afghanistan – a decision that came under intense criticism,
including from former Army Capt. Jonathan Hendershott, who called it a "stunning display of callousness" in an opinion piece for the New York Post.
“What we try to do there is, working through the chain of command, minimize the impact to that unit and then maximize the time to provide to that officer to come back and do the proper transition, to take care of himself or herself, and the family," Campbell said.
In a later statement, the Army said majors serving overseas who are affected by the cuts "will be returned to the United States within 30 days of their notification to begin their transition from active duty and ensure they have the maximum time and resources available for a successful transition," Military.com reports.
The cutbacks are part of the Army's plan "to draw down its end-strength to 490,000 active-component soldiers" by the end of fiscal year 2015, the Army said.
"As a result of future budget restrictions previously passed by Congress, the active Army will further reduce its end-strength by 20,000 soldiers in both 2016 and 2017" to a force of about 450,000, the Army statement said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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