RAMSTEIN AIR FORCE BASE, Germany - The Pentagon will have to cut the size of US military forces for the second time in as many years if across-the-board spending reductions of $470 billion over 10 years take effect March 1, the top US military officer said on Saturday.

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said about a third of the cuts would have to come from forces, with the remaining two-thirds taken from spending on modernization, compensation and readiness.

He noted that the Army had begun to shrink last year toward 490,000 from a high of 570,000, a result of efforts to trim $487 billion over 10 years as required by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

The Budget Control Act also envisioned the additional across-the-board cuts under a process known as sequestration. If those cuts go into effect, "the Army will have to come down again," Dempsey said.

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