February 18, 2016 10:10 AM
In a press release sent out by Senator Johnny Isakson’s office on Wednesday, both Senators Isakson and Perdue called upon the president to reverse the recent spending cuts to the U.S. Army’s budget. The cuts come as a part of the president’s fiscal year 2017 budget and would provide for and “Army end strength number” of 460,000 troops, down from the 2014 peak of 566,000. The Army budget cut of $1.4 billion would affect several army bases across the nation and in Georgia. Both senators are urging actions to reverse these cuts in order for the Army to maintain the resources necessary to confront the growing threats that the U.S. faces.
Describing the damage that this reduction in spending could cause at a time where we face great uncertainty, Senator Isakson had this to say:
“To continue to shrink our fighting force is a dangerous and compromising position to be in at a time of growing threats worldwide,” said Senator Isakson. “Instead, we should be strengthening our military to send a clear signal to the rest of the world that America has no intention of standing down in the fight against terrorism worldwide. I will continue to fight to see to it that we preserve every soldier in Georgia that we can.”
Senator David Perdue also spoke out:
“Growing terrorist threats combined with traditional power rivalries have created unprecedented demand on our military,” said Senator Perdue. “Against the advice of our military leaders, President Obama has chosen to reduce the size of our military over the past seven years. As we see growing aggression from Russia and China, we need to ensure that our forces are sufficient in size and ready for any confrontation that may arise. While troop reductions are reversible, it takes time to build that capability back up—time we may not have during a modern conflict.”
The cuts were first announced by the DoD in July of 2015, prompting Senator Isakson to begin demanding answers from top Pentagon officials. The cuts include a net loss of 950 soldiers from Ft. Stewart in Hinesville, GA and a net loss of 3,400 soldiers from Ft. Benning in Columbus, GA.
Last week, both Georgian senators along with other members of the Georgia delegation (Reps. Austin Scott and Sanford Bishop) received a briefing on how these cuts would lead to restructuring in Georgia from General Joseph Anderson, the Army’s deputy chief of staff. In the briefing, it was described that the cuts come as a result of internal military value analysis within the Army and are part of a larger goal to decrease the current level of 490,000 troops down to an end goal of 450,000 by the end of 2017.
Senators Isakson and Perdue have both expressed concern over the fact that the aforementioned analysis took place prior to the U.S.’s expanded involvement in the fight against ISIL, and they have vowed that they will continue fighting on this issue and pushing for answers from the administration.