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Commander concerned about Army drawdown

Commander concerned about Army drawdown
(Photo by Army Sgt. Trey Harvey)

American Legion National Commander James E. Koutz says he is "gravely concerned" about the U.S. Army’s decision to dramatically downsize its force strength and cut its construction budget. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno announced this week plans to eliminate 10 brigade combat teams at bases across the United States, cutting about 80,000 soldiers out of the force over the next four years.

Additionally, military construction projects worth some $400 million are being canceled by the Army. Odierno noted that this shrinking of the service reflects the winding down of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and represents the largest such reorganization of the service since the end of World War II.

"The American Legion has long been gravely concerned that our nation would forfeit national security in order to reduce the budget deficit," said Koutz, who leads the nation’s largest veterans service organization. "Just this past fall, The American Legion adopted two resolutions expressing our view that defense budget cuts of significant magnitude would dangerously compromise national defense and readiness in an increasingly – not decreasingly – dangerous world.

"While some of the troop cuts will be made by recruiting fewer new soldiers, other personnel eliminations will be made through early retirements and similar measures. This will have the effect of introducing more veterans into a VA health-care system that is already overburdened and unable to reverse a massive backlog of benefits claims."

Koutz added that the reduction of active-duty forces puts America in a vulnerable national security position. "What is most disturbing to us is the fact that lessons from the past have obviously not been learned," Koutz said. "The tremendous hardships placed upon our National Guard and Reserve members over the past decade were due to having to bolster an understaffed regular Army in the wake of Sept. 11. Are we about to, once again, prepare for future conflicts by standing a force that is less than full against our enemies?"


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June 28, 2013 - 12:53am

No surprises, this is what he said he was going to do from the beginning.

VMAX Lives

June 27, 2013 - 9:28pm

It's almost funny watching you guys talk about the cut back in military. Ha Ha, see me laugh? The commander authorized 3 billion rounds of ammo for home security. PD's across the nation are short on ammo now. He is building internment camps with new roads and RR access. Had a half million plastic caskets built. Why would he want to reduce are armed forces and weaken any resistance that would have been possible... Are you one of those who have an Obama phone and went deaf, dumb, and blind...National Security, right on Bubba. Hope you were taught to pray so God really hears you....There is way more than a few cuts coming and its gonna be here soon.


June 27, 2013 - 2:35pm

We have been in two wars in the last decade, one of which should not have happened. It's time to draw down to a reasonable level. Commander Koutz's comments, "What is most disturbing to us is the fact that lessons from the past have obviously not been learned,". The lessons from the past have definitely not been learned as "Dubya" and "Cheney" gave us a war of lies in Iraq when we should have been in Afghanistan. Before that we had the ill conceived Johnson war in Vietnam. I don't know if Commander Koutz is a neocon or not, but his words sure lean toward that following.


June 27, 2013 - 9:27pm

President Johnson inherited the vietnam war.. he didn't initiate it. Kennedy initiated it. Also, after every war the U.S. has drawn down its troop strength. This is nothing new. The exception this time around, is that the world is increasingly more dangerous than it has been before after our wars. Troop strength and military readiness in general should remain at a constant because of that fact. We are due for more wars and very soon.


June 29, 2013 - 2:05pm

Thoughwrite, I know that Kennedy ratcheted up the Vietnam war but Johnson, with the Tonkin Gulf incident was the Pres that really started it. Take a look at old news reports posted on the "Fair and Accuracy in Reporting" website under heading, "30-year Anniversary Tonkin Gulf Lie Launched Vietnam War". And as for your "We are due for more wars and very soon" is the typical Neocon mindset as they have never seen a war that they didn't like to start.


June 27, 2013 - 2:49pm

Could not agree more. You don't solve the backup in handling medical claims by keeping far more military on the taxpayers' payroll than we need for national security. Two needless wars were enough!

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