The Army is axing 13 of its 45 combat brigades in what it says is just the first round of downsizing under automatic budget cuts. Some 80,000 troops out of a total force of 570,000 will be cut over the next four years, and while the Army aims to make most of the cuts through attrition, some officers will probably have to be laid off, USA Today reports. Ten brigades will be cut at bases in the US and two at bases in Germany, along with a yet-to-be-decided 13th brigade, reports Reuters.
The downsizing—part of $487 billion in military spending cuts that will kick in over the next decade—represents the Army's biggest organizational shake-up since World War II, notes the New York Times. Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army's chief of staff, says some troops from deactivated brigades will be transferred to other ones to make them "more lethal, more flexible, and more agile." He says the Army has tried to "make it as small an impact as possible" for communities near bases that will lose brigades.