US Army guts 24k positions amid crippling shortfalls

American troops serving at a post in Pakistan PHOTO: David Furst, AFP/Getty Images

The US Army announced the slashing of 24k troop positions amid recruitment shortfalls, which currently affects nearly every branch of the military. The news comes amid a heightened risk of war with regional players in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Asian theaters.

  • The almost 5% of jobs cut will mostly affect posts that have remained empty and not actual soldiers, according to an Army document published Tuesday.
  • Most of the jobs being slashed are related to counter-insurgency positions that grew during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but are not in high demand today.
  • The service is currently structured to have up to 494,000 soldiers, but the total number of active-duty soldiers is about 445,000. The new plan has Army leaders looking to recruit enough troops through 2029 to reach a goal of 470,000 active-duty soldiers.

Why it matters: With military preparedness at an all-time low, many have wondered if the United States could effectively respond if its interests overseas were to come under attack by a more capable enemy.

Recent military successes by Russia in Ukraine and Africa increasingly have placed the West on the backfoot as it shifts its attention to Israel’s war on Gaza.

  • 68% of US troops qualified as either “overweight” or “obese” under the Body Mass Index, which takes into account a person’s age, height and weight.
  • It also determined that the number of troops in the “obese” category have more than doubled over the course of the past decade — from 10.4% in 2012, to 21.6% last year.
  • Less than a quarter of Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 qualify both academically and physically for military service, according to Pentagon data obtained by Stars and Stripes.