MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

October 29, 2013

Top Army officer says cuts would impact missions


— LAWTON (AP)  — If the Army’s force is reduced to below 490,000 active soldiers, the risks associated with current missions will be “much higher,” the Army’s second highest-ranking officer said Tuesday.

The Army is drawing down to 490,000 active soldiers from 570,000, but that was before automatic budget cuts known as sequestration.

If those cuts continue, the Army will be forced to draw down more, Gen. John Campbell, the Army’s vice chief, said.

“At 490,000 on the active side, along with our National Guard and our Reserve, we feel that we can accomplish the tasks and the missions that are in the Defense Strategic Guidance laid out by the secretary of defense. If we go below 490,000, then we have to be able to go back to the secretary of defense and lay out if we can still do those missions, and if we can, what happens on the risk,” Campbell said. Campbell and Chandler were at the southwest Oklahoma Army base as part of a tour of installations to look at what programs are successfully improving the health of soldiers and their families.

Campbell and Chandler visited Fort Riley, Kan., earlier Tuesday before arriving at Fort Sill and planned to visit installations in Washington and California on Wednesday. They met with soldiers, civilians and leaders to learn about the initiatives.