Obama Cutting Thousands of Ground Troops

Military no longer expected to be able to fight two wars at once
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2012 4:15 AM CST
Updated Jan 5, 2012 7:27 AM CST
Obama Cutting Thousands of Ground Troops
US Army 1st Cavalry 3rd Brigade soldiers march onto the parade grounds upon their return home from deployment in Iraq, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011, at Fort Hood, Texas.    (AP Photo/Erich Schlegel)

The US military is going to end up with a lot fewer boots on the ground as a results of cuts included in the debt ceiling deal. As part of the Obama administration's military overhaul, to be unveiled today, air and sea forces will be boosted, but Army and Marine Corps numbers will be cut by up to 15% over the next decade to a pre-9/11 level, Reuters reports. Officials say no final number has been set, but tens of thousands of troops will certainly go.

The number of personnel assigned to bases in Europe will drop sharply, and "when some army brigades start coming out of Afghanistan, they will basically disappear," one official says. The big shift, officials say, is from a "win-win" strategy, where the US is able to fight two major wars at once, to a "win-spoil" strategy, where the US can fight one war while stopping or blocking another conflict, as in Libya. NPR counters that assertion, however, having spoken with officials who predict the win-win strategy will remain: With the election approaching, Obama won't want to appear soft on defense, they say, nor will the White House want to give countries like Iran and North Korea the impression that we're backing down. (Read more Pentagon stories.)

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