Top US Army general backs plan to cut 80,000 troops

January 28, 2012 01:37

WASHINGTON - The US Army's top general on Friday endorsed plans to reduce the size of his force by 80,000 soldiers over the next six years, pledging a steady drawdown that would take care of troops and their families rather than "running our nation's Army off a cliff."

General Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, said the drawdown would begin this year and take place mainly through attrition. It would include withdrawal of two heavy infantry brigades from Europe, one in 2013 and another in 2014, both of which would be removed from the force rather than relocating to the United States.

"With the successful completion of our mission in Iraq... and the... reduction of US presence in Afghanistan, our strategy calls for us to no longer plan for large scale stability operations," Odierno said. "Accordingly the time is strategically right to reduce the Army's force structure."

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