Army Count Reaches Low Not Seen Since Before WWII But it's all part of the plan By Jenn Gidman, Newser Staff Posted May 9, 2016 9:04 AM CDT 177 comments Comments Fewer boots on the ground than (almost) ever. (Shutterstock) (Newser) – In 1940, the head count for active-duty soldiers in the US Army was 269,023, a low that hasn't been reached since, the Army Times reports. But due to budget cutbacks, a drawdown plan announced last summer to whittle manpower by 40,000 troops has left the Army with its lowest post-World War II count yet: 479,172 soldiers, which is 154 fewer than those on active duty during the previous post-WWII low hit in 1999. "These are not cuts the Army wants to make, these are cuts required by [the] budget environment in which we operate," the Army's vice chief of staff said in July when the plan was first announced, Fox News reports. Per the Defense Manpower Data Center, there are also just over 548,000 soldiers in reserve, bringing the total number of Army troops to 1,027,196. The ultimate goal: to hit a total force number of 980,000 by the end of September 2018.