It looks like the Obama administration will keep its promise to make sweeping, cost-cutting reductions to combat troops over the next five years, trimming $260 billion from the Pentagon budget. On Wednesday afternoon, the Associated Press revealed that the Army would "slash the number of combat brigades from 45 to as low as 32 in a broad restructuring of its fighting force aimed at cutting costs and reducing the service by about 80,000 soldiers." However, "specialty units, such as Army special operations forces, [will] not be affected by the cuts." As one official told Reuters when rumors of the troop cuts began a couple of weeks ago, "When some army brigades start coming out of Afghanistan, they will basically disappear."
The thinking behind removing entire units is that it will also eliminate the need for costly upkeep at the headquarters needed to support them. Keeping Special Forces intact, we'd imagine, might have something to do with the highly publicized success of elite units like the Navy's SEAL Team 6, now famous not only for killing Osama bin Laden but also cracking down on Somali pirates. A movie about these guys is bound to be made and we can't help but wonder if the Pentagon should get a cut of the box office proceeds.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.