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Army Secretary: Drawdown, Russia and ISIL Stretch Us 'Very Thin'

Image: Army Secretary: Drawdown, Russia and ISIL Stretch Us 'Very Thin'

Army Secretary Eric Fanning (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

By    |   Monday, 03 Oct 2016 07:12 PM

The Army is being "stretched very thin" as it draws down to a total force of 980,000, and "I do worry about that," the service's top civilian leader said Monday.

At the Association of the United States Army's annual convention in Washington, Army Secretary Eric Fanning said the rise of ISIS and Russian aggression are creating a bigger demand for soldiers, Defense News reported.

"We did not see Russia being as aggressive as it is," Fanning said, per Defense News. "We did not have ISIL to contend with like we do now. There are a lot of requirements on an Army that is being asked to do a lot of things globally.

"Just in the last four years or so, we have increased our uniformed [and] civilian presence in the Pacific theater by 50 percent while we are drawing down."

Defense News noted the drawdown aims for 450,000 in the active Army, 335,000 in the Army National Guard, and 195,000 in the Army Reserve by the end of 2018.

"I do worry about that," Fanning said. "We are running it hard."

But Fanning said any increase in Army forces cannot be done without proper funding, Defense News reported.

"The worst thing for the Army would be that we are required to keep a larger force structure but the budget does not change," he said. "We have already taken a lot of risk in our modernization accounts . . . and in our operations and maintenance accounts. The force structure that we are headed towards, while there are a lot of requirements levied against it, it is, we think, a balanced force structure for the budget that we have."

Fanning also blasted mandated caps on spending that create "instability," making "it very hard to plan," Defense News reported.

"Continuing resolutions are disruptive," he said. "Not being able to budget even for a full year because of the continuing resolution is disruptive. This all impacts how you build a program to maintain flexibility so you can respond quickly. It is not nearly as effective as having a long-term program that you can plan on."

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The Army is being "stretched very thin" as it draws down to a total force of 980,000, and "I do worry about that," the service's top civilian leader said Monday.
army, force, soldiers, isil
352
2016-12-03
Monday, 03 Oct 2016 07:12 PM
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